Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1977)

Posted: May 29, 2009 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , ,

Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (German)


DVD: Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Don Lope de Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) is a conquistador in the 1560s. As a member of Pizarro’s team, he is sent on ahead with a group of soldiers, monks, slaves and two women.

The Indians have told the Spaniards a tall tale about a land of gold called El Dorado. Just follow the river. Have fun.

Quickly descending into a Heart of Darkness tale, Aguirre decides to mutiny against his commander, Don Pedro de Ursua, who is shot.

From here on in, we have a despotic tyranny in control of the lives of all the characters. Attempting to make things look legitimate, Aguirre nominates another nobleman to be “Emperor” of the new land of El Dorado, which they claim for themselves as they drift past on a large raft.

Even the slaves are enticed to follow Aguirre, in the hopes of freedom, riches, women, something intangible in the future. The slaves are co-opted by the vision.

Aguirre is a mad fool, of course, leading them to destruction. The king is mad, and thus an unrestrained tyrant. Like Caligula before him, and Colonel Kurtz after, Aguirre brings forth the total despot and the destructive madness of those who allow him to rule.

The film is a bit dated by today’s standards. The editing, the music, the length of lingering shots are out of fashion. The locations, however, are timeless and spectacular. The opening shot is so disorienting that it makes you want to grab your seat for fear of sliding down an endless cliff of jagged stone.

  1. […] threats to and the odd physical attack. His weapon in this regard has always been the terrifying Klaus Kinski, his ironclad, dark knight guarantee and winning subject. Whatever critics might have said, Cage is […]

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