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
Posted by Shubhajit at 22:52
Labels: 1970s, 5 Star Movies, Adventure, Drama, Epic/Historical, Essential Viewing, German Cinema
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Just stumbled upon this blog by chance and wow, what a discovery it has been! Bookmarked it now for daily visits, will add to RSS too :)
Great work here, keep writing...
Thanks a lot, and do keep visiting.
Even among masterpieces, this one stands near the top of the heap. One of my favorite films of all time. How about that soundtrack too!? Haunting stuff! Actually it's not Kinski's last right with Herzog? There was also Fitzcarraldo, another crazy film!
Well, this was my first tryst with Herzog, to be honest - better late than never, as they say. And thanks for pointing about Herzog-Kinski collaboration - this was the first, and not last. I'll make the change as soon as I can. Hoping to watch his Selva trilogy & Enigma of Kasper Hauser sooner rather than later. Thanks Jon for the comment.
Kaspar Hauzer is great. As for Aguirre, the shot of Kinski holding that screeching monkey up to his face and kind of leering toward the camera is one of my favorite images from cinema.
Yes, in fact the entire climax sequence (with monkeys playing around the now completely insane Herzog) was unforgettable. Thanks Joel.
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