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3. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
Aguirre, the Wrath of God poster.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God is about a group of Spanish conquistadores who trek through Peru in search of the legendary city of gold, El Dorado. When the 1000 strong group become stuck the leader orders a group of forty to scout ahead, with Don Pedro de Ursúa as leader and Don Lope de Aguirre as second in command. After encountering difficultly, power hungry Aguirre proposes a coup against Ursúa when he suggests they turn back. The soldiers follow Aguirre, as they slowly float down the Amazon, Aguirre, becoming more and more insane the further they go.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God contains, in my opinion, some of the greatest scenes in film history. The opening and closing scenes are visually stunning. Aguirre, the only man alive, on a sinking raft with 400 tiny monkeys. And just as his own men were scared of his insanity the monkeys scatter when he comes near then.
‘I, the wrath of God, will marry my own daughter and with her I’ll found the purest dynasty the earth has ever seen.’
2. The Wild Blue Yonder (2005)
The Wild Blue Yonder is a sci-fi/documentary film about an alien who came to earth decades ago from a watery planet (The Wild Blue Yonder). The film consists of re-contextualised documentary footage of the STS-34 space flight and Henry Kaiser under water footage at the Antarctic. We see interviews from scientists who explain the science behind the story of the film but always with context of the film as if the incidents were real.
The draw of this film is definitely Herzog’s ability to use other footage to tell his story, but don’t be mistaken in thinking this is lazy film making. The music works seamlessly, the eerie, sensual music flows as the water flows under the Antarctic, it floats as the astronauts float in zero gravity. This is one of Herzog visual delights, I admire the story telling of this film, you could so easily take this film as fact, as with many of Herzog’s film, even his fictional feature films, they are often shot in an almost documentary style.