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Into the Inferno (2016)

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An exploration of active volcanoes around the world.

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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Herzog takes a film crew to the island of Guadeloupe when he hears that the volcano on the island is going to erupt. Everyone has left, except for one old man who refuses to leave. Herzog ... See full summary »

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself
Clive Oppenheimer ...
Himself
Maurice Krafft ...
Himself - Volcanologist (archive footage)
Katia Krafft ...
Herself - Volcanologist (archive footage)
James Hammond ...
Himself - Geophysicist
Tim D. White ...
Himself - Paleoanthropologist
Kampiro Kayrento ...
Himself - Fossil Hunter
Yun Yong Gun ...
Himself - Geologist
Adam Bobette ...
Himself - Researcher
William McIntosh ...
Himself - Volcanologist (archive footage)
Han Myong II ...
Himself - Translator
Yonatan Sahle ...
Himself - Archaeologist
Sri Sumarti ...
Himself - Volcanologist
Sarmin ...
Himself - Carpenter
Mael Moses ...
Himself - Chief
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Storyline

An exploration of active volcanoes around the world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What we worship can destroy us

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Documentary

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Details

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Release Date:

28 October 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dentro del volcán  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The twenty-eighth Netflix original documentary. See more »

Quotes

Werner Herzog: It is a fire that wants to burst forth and it could not care less about what we are doing up here
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Soundtracks

Recordare jesu pie
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
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User Reviews

 
A contemporary reflection upon an ancient theme
4 November 2016 | by See all my reviews

You might think that this is a documentary about volcanoes… in which case you wouldn't be wrong. However you have to keep in mind that this is a Werner Herzog documentary about volcanoes. Herzog is not so much interested in the facts about volcanoes (I'm sure he'd tell you to read a book if you want facts) but what volcanoes can tell us about ourselves and about us as a species.

So how does he do it, you might ask. Herzog reaches very far back, very far, in fact right back to the dawn of man – through an archaeological expedition in Ethiopia that aims to uncover a complete skeleton of such an ancient human beneath the blazing sand. And indeed Herzog captures something prehistoric with this documentary; amidst our digital age which often tricks us to believe we've conquered nature, he renders man once again so incredibly small and fragile against the (in contrast) everlasting thermal forces of the earth.

Herzog explores this feeling of impuissance by traveling to tribal communities in the Pacific and by exploring the state of North Korea and the oppressive, propagandistic cult around their leaders (with some at times truly fantastic footage, you have to keep in mind that it's almost impossible to get a permit to film there). In both communities a volcano plays an important role and Herzog expresses multiple times his interest in how volcanoes "create new gods", once again questioning the permanence of our culture which we so often take for granted.

In the end what makes this movie so special is that it's surprisingly contemporary despite being about a phenomenon (volcanos) that is almost as old as the earth itself and that Herzog found new ways to once again render the Vanitas motif from medieval times vividly alive. Herzog reminds us that even today with all out technological progress, we are still small, fragile animals against the mighty forces of nature. Memento Mori, they said in the Middle Ages, remember that you have to die.

Some have commented that the film is really shattered; however I'd argue that it's actually really focused on its theme. Don't expect my review to follow the film chronologically though, it takes it's very own spins and turns. And don't expect the film to be sad, it's actually quite witty and filled with funny ironies. Likewise it assembles a large array of different great and fascinating footage from all around the world. However I'd still like to leave you with a famous old poem from one of Herzog's fellow countrymen (which I'm convinced he knows as well), here's Friedrich Hölderlin's "Hyperion's Song of Fate" (be sure to read it in its original German form if you speak the language):

Up there you walk through the light on delicate grounds, Elysian Spirits! Shimmering breezes of Gods touch you as softly as the hand of the harpist touches her sacrosanct strings.

Unencumbered by fate, like a slumbering newborn, are breathing the heavenly dwellers; chastely protected by a bud unassuming flowers for them eternal the spirit and their hallow'd eyes shine in serene clearness forever.

But to us it was given never and nowhere to rest: we suffering humans vanishing, falling blindly from one hour to the next are thrown like the water cliff down to cliff, yearlong into the unknown abyss.


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