Tuesday 16 October 2012
Aguirre, the Wrath of God 
Aguirre, the Wrath of God, considered to be a part of his so-called “Selva Trilogy” (which also comprised of Fitzcerraldo and Cobra Verde), remains the single most famous work of celebrated New German Cinema filmmaker Werner Herzog, and his first collaboration with Klaus Kinski. It was a relentlessly disturbing, intense and psychologically arresting portrayal of megalomaniac ambitions, manic obsessions, man’s propensity for ruthlessness, and the infiniteness of human folly and lunacy, and a peek into the darkest corners of human heart. The film is about a group of Spanish explorers who are in an expedition in the Peruvian forests along the Amazon River in search for El Dorado, the mythical city of gold. Aguirre (Kinski), the second-in-command, spectacularly usurps power from the group leader, anoints a dim-witted guy as the tin-pot emperor of their “kingdom”, and leads the men in a fruitless quest for infinite riches on a rickety raft. Their journey, which is as much physical as it is psychological, is plagued by treacherous waters, starvation, diseases, and the deadly arrows of the aborigines silently trailing them along the banks; but everything paled in comparison to Aguirre’s penchant for violence and increasing madness. Kinski gave a tour de force performance – perhaps the best of his distinguished career – as the psychopathic, malevolent and misanthropic antagonist. The climax, where the camera keeps revolving around the despot glibly alone in his raft, surrounded by monkeys and corpses of his former comrades, made for a chilling finale. The filming process, interestingly, was besieged by innumerable issues, ranging from the hazards of shooting on location, to the impossible tantrums thrown by the lead actor.
Director: Werner Herzog
Genre: Psychological Drama/Historical Epic/Adventure