September 5th, 2011
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“I am the wrath of God”

Film Reading / Veena

Aguirre , the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes)

Wrath-of-God“The ultimate acting is to destroy yourself”Klaus Kinski

“I love my movies as they are. I let them develop their lives”Werner Herzog

That was a terrific night. The night I saw the film Agurrie, the Wrath of God. My heart was bleeding. That was a night filled with the wildest dreams. Images flash one after the other, the rocky mountains, the untamed jungle, the unpredictable river.

The film is a teamwork of two cinematic towers- Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski. Aguirre is the story of  a Spanish explorer who sets off on a journey through the Amazon. The Spanish leader Gonzalo Pizarro, pilots a group of conquistadors down the Amazon river looking  for of El Doraldo, the legendary city of gold. Men clamber through unknown paths into the heart of the jungle, climbing mountains to reach the land of gold. After a great deal of difficulties and complexities, the crowd is left helpless in the intricacies of life.

A group of forty men were selected by Gonzalo Pizarro to carry on the journey, challenging the wild nature. Pizarro picks Don Pedro de Ursua to lead the group and Lope de Aguirre as the second –in-command. At last, Aguirre is left alone; still he continues his predestinated journey, like the only man left in the world. He overpowers the atmosphere; he sets his rules, formulates his own set of regulations and becomes the emperor of the world. There is madness throughout the film, madness without measurements and calculations. Lunacy is combined with beauty, nature rises as a prominent presence in the film. Left alone, in the company of a few monkeys Aguirre cries out from the raft-  his final  words “I am the wrath of God”. The rest is embarked with deep silence posed as a question to history.

Kinski’s mesmerizing performance is contrasted with the exquisiteness of Peru’s topography. The journey is in fact an expedition into the deep roots of civilization. The making of the film itself is a great myth, the genius German director and the thunderous actor clashed throughout the filming, and it is said that Kinski’s violent and ferocious performance shuddered the crew and the natives who backed the production. The crew with the help of natives cut open new wild paths, climbed trees and mountains, crossed the wild river, made narrow mountain passage ways and even explored the unknown regions of the Peruvian rainforest.

The film explores the themes of power and madness, mankind’s eternal search for the unidentified.  There is monotony, loneliness, greed, nature, man, companions, lunacy, power, danger, visions and dreams, mystery, journeys, confusions and complexities, mankind enfolded in the primordial form. Yes, Agurrie is leading us into a labyrinth. You won’t be able to get out of this .It is full of small alleys and narrow passage ways, hidden treasures and lightening beauties, you will be lead from one world  to the other, you will climb mountains and cut off wild trees to reach El Doraldo. You will become insane, you will never arrive at the land. You will be lost in the untamed jungle .Pain will pierce you.

Don’t watch the movie.



Veena: Veena is a short story writer, film critic and academician based in Thiruvananthapuram. 




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