Aguirre, The Wrath Of God (1972)
I am the Wrath Of God, who else is with me?
The jungle, the monkeys, the Krautrock soundtrack, the mental breakdown, the ship in the tree….oh my, this is an amazing film. Epic in space: both in location and dialogue, the atmosphere is the equal of (and inspiration for) Apocalypse Now. Klaus Kinski is phenomenal. His prior “terrorizing” of Herzog is what got him the part, and his continued terrorizing almost derailed the films production. It is this combination of hatred and respect between director and actor that forms the driving force behind their collaborations.
The epic task of shooting on location in the jungle cannot be understated. The combination of documentary with surrealist imagery, combining the real and unreal, is a consistent theme Herzogs. It is often difficult to separate the fictional madness and suffering from the real life insanity of the shoot. Later film Fitzcarraldo continues this theme as well as the directors personal endurance for shooting on location. His and Kinski’s volatile relationship (based on hatred and love) is also explored in the personal documentary “My Best Friend”.