Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Every Herzog film is an absorbing experience and this one is no exception. The most striking elements are the way he portrays nature and his lead character in his films. Unlike usual films nature is not just beautiful and soothing canvas in Herzog films but mystery and absolutely indifferent one towards humanity. Herzog shot his films as raw as nature itself. Perhaps, it’s these impressive qualities which separate his cinema from rest of the auteurs of the World Cinema.

Men keep trying to fathom, exploit and challenge the nature from the very day he became part of this planet and till day nature remains an unsolved mystery to them. In Aguirre, Herzog takes us to the mid sixteenth century in the heart of jungle where a large group of Spanish explorers trying to search El Dorado, a land of gold located in depth of Amazon tributaries. The journey is full of misfortune as changing climate is taking toll, food ration is short and the terrain is difficult and hostile Indian territory. But still it’s not nature but human avarice and obsession which brought the biggest tragedy.

El Dorado is represented as an illusion, almost like mirage in desert. Aguirre is rebellion who became traitor and the precursor of tragedy making all others innocent victims. Herzog’s favorite Klaus Kinski’s presence is dominant all over the film as maniacal tormentor. It’s no easy film but disturbing parable of human vices. Striking visuals encapsulated the whole journey part from very opening long shot to its shattering end. The scene where Aguirre addresses, “I’m wrath of God’ in monologue with only presence of monkeys on raft is brilliant moment of irony. Human is back to his primate stage addressing primates.

Only Herzog can do this. While reading the book ‘Herzog on Herzog’, I come to know that his own life is almost as mysterious and natural as his films. It’s one more masterpiece of New German cinema. I would love to avoid rating it.

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