June has proven that late spring can demonstrate promise, the hope for sweet weather. The Tacoma Film Club is continuing with its June selections, and will screen Werner Herzog’s AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD (1972). We continue with our tribute to maverick director Werner Herzog. Some of his other films we might some day watch could be THE ENIGMA OF KASPER HAUSER (1974), STROSZEK (1977), NOSFERATU: The Vampire (1979), and WOYZECK (1979). Like in his other films, Herzog did not story board any of this, preferring creating in the lens spontaneously. Therefore many of the scenes were shot unrehearsed and unstaged.
Tagline: A breathtaking journey into the heart of darkness.
This was the first time that Herzog worked with Klaus Kinski, and although is was very difficult to do so, he would go on to make many more films with him over the next fifteen year. During mid-filming of AGUIRRE, Kinski decided to walk out, to quit. Herzog threatened to shoot and kill him if he left; Kinski stayed. At one point Kinski lost his temper and hit a crewman in the head with his sword, nearly killing him. At another point he fired a rifle repeatedly into a crew tent, wounding one man.
Klaus Kinski: I have been better than Adolf Hitler, and most certainly I could have delivered his speeches better than he ever did.
He spoke five languages and did five films with Werner Herzog, who summed up his tumultuous relationship with Kinski in the documentary, MY BEST FIEND (1999).
Werner Herzog: With Kinski I had to simply domesticate the beast. Every gray hair on my head I have named Kinski.
The movie’s musical score was done by Popol Vhu, the name of a band that Florian Fricke has. The score is very haunting and effective.
The cinematographer was Thomas Mauch, who worked several more times with Herzog over the years, including FITZCARRALDO (1982).
Tagline: “On this river, God never finished his creation.”
Roger Ebert wrote: “The film is not driven by dialogue, anyway, or even by the characters, except for Aguirre, whose personality is created as much by Kinski’s face and body as by words. What Herzog sees in the story, I think, is what he finds in many of his films: Men haunted by a vision of great achievement, who commit the sin of pride by daring to reach for it, and are crushed by an implacable universe.”
AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD (1972)
Directed by Werner Herzog @ 93 minutes.
The film stars Klaus Kinski, Helena Royo, Ruy Guerra, and Del Negro.
Synopsis: After the destruction of the Inca Empire, a Spanish expedition floats down the Amazon River in search of El Dorado. Don Aguirras becomes the leader–will their quest lead to the “golden city”, or to their destruction?
Tagline: A film which haunts you.
Don Lope de Aguirre: I am the great traitor. There must be no other. Anyone who even thinks about deserting this mission will be cut up into 198 pieces. Those pieces will be stamped on until what is left can be used only to paint walls. Whoever takes one grain of corn or one drop of water… more than his ration, will be locked up for 155 years. If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees… then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the wrath of god. The earth I pass will see me and tremble. But whoever follows me and the river, will win untold riches.
Come downtown this Friday, June 10, 2011, and join the members of the Tacoma Film Club watching Werner Herzog’s enigmatic fillm AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD (1972). We are located at 924 Broadway, in the Pythian Temple, street level, across from the Theater in the Square, in the heart of Tacoma’s Theater district. Come early and enjoy food and fellowship with other early arrivals. A meal will be prepared by the Phantom Director and Farishta, and it will be served at 6:15 p.m. There will be the Club Raffle too, with the winner receiving 40% of the raffle cash collected. Look for our large banner hanging out front. AGUIRRE: WRATH OF GOD will screen at 7:15 p.m., and it runs 93 minutes. Things will wind down about 9:30 p.m. See you at the movies!