Monday, October 22, 2012

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Having always been fed up by routinary and a rampant lack of imagination in the movies, Werner Herzog has spent his directing career fashioning daring and fascinating films, which push the limits of viewer expectations.  In "Aguirre: The Wrath of God",  one of his early masterworks, Herzog brought his camera and crew to the unpredictable wilderness of the Amazon, and crafted a dreamlike film about Spanish Conquistadors on the road to El Dorado and a tale of madness run wild. When conditions become too arduous for General Pizarro's crew, he sends a scouting party of forty men to find El Dorado, or at least a resting place where they can seek nourishment. A lieutenant is chosen to lead the expedition, but is soon undermined and overthrown by the mad, power hungry second in command Aguirre (Klaus Kinski). Kinski is a powder keg  seemingly barely able to contain his madness, and ready to boil over at any minute. The film, with its haunting visuals and hypnotic score, is an excellent early work from Herzog, and a warm up of sorts to "Fitzcarraldo", another masterpiece featuring Kinski, again telling a story of hysteria set in the unforgiving terrains of South America.