Quite seriously the beginning opening sequence of Aguirre The Wrath Of God is ridiculously breathtaking, so stunning. A visually beautiful set piece, the panning shots of hundreds of men marching down the side of cliffs and mountains carrying all manner of unnecessary items. Hundreds of slaves and sherpers, interspersed with men in full armour, conquistadores in all their glory.
Tagline – A breathtaking journey into the heart of darkness.
Add to this gorgeous scene the haunting music from the German ambient new-age electronic band Popol Vuh that actually penetrates the soul, it transfixes you. Electric keyboard strings and voices pre-warn of the coming doom and despair.
A 16th century Spanish expedition of soldiers and noblemen on a mission in search of the fabled gold of El Dorado. After hitting a dead end filled with mud and cut off by the white rapids of the flowing river. The leader of the main party has no choice but to abandon their plans and high hopes of riches. With no food supplies, helplessly lost, and with the reality of despair setting in, a group is organised together to build rafts and set off in search of food and rescue. Deep down everyone must see this as a hopeless task but proudly they fight on.
Tagline – On this river, God never finished his creation.
What they probably didn’t expect was politics, mutiny, cannibals, psycho locals, their own inner demons and a lunatic leader by the name of Don Lope de Aguirre, played by Klaus Kinski who looks as mad as he will become. Directed by one of Germany’s greatest original filmmakers Werner Herzog, a man who has such a talent for investigating the inner conflict of the human condition and always brings such obscure and awe inspiring films to make the viewer invest themselves full force into the experience.
This is a journey in the heart of darkness, a truly poetic picture filled with metaphors and similes. I can imagine many essays have been written and discussed about this film, so I won’t drivel on in my illiterate way but believe me this is a fascinating film. Plus I know when that opening scene will ever leave me. Here’s the music.
Popol Vuh – Aguirre, The Wrath Of God Soundtrack
To be honest I should’ve seen this many years ago but you can’t watch them all and it’s now been ticked off list mountain. I very much recommend it, have you seen it before? Let me know your thoughts….. BTW one of those Conquistador helmets would make a most excellent popcorn bowl. Take it easy and enjoy film… Mikey Wolfman
Further Reading Links