Here be spoilers!
And so I have reached Herzogs Aguirre (1972) with Klaus Kinski as the main character Lope de Aguirre. The film is set in South America during the spanish conquest of the Inka Empire. A group of conquistadores, led by Pizarro, are searching for the mythical city of El Dorado. The thick jungle proves to more than a match for the expedition and in order to scout the surroundings Pizarro dispatches a small group, which Aguirre is part of. Things go from bad to worse and through a series of cunning and diabolic actions Aguirre manages to take control over the group. Fueled by his insatiable thirst for power Aguirre leads the small band deeper into the jungle and down the Amazon river in order to find El Dorado. The situation constantly deteriorates and Aguirre is becoming more and more crazy. He looses contact with reality and from his rotten raft he dreams of forging an empire that will crush the spanish crown and conquer South America.
The film portrays on one hand the fall of one man into madness while on the other hand depicting the human thirst for power and might; a wish to exceed the given boundaries. The way that the madness and surrealism is connected with the journey down the Amazon makes me think of Apocalypse Now. Both films depict the folly of man and creates a world that slowly changes, showing it’s grotesque image.
The soundtrack by Popol Vuh is absolutely brilliant and I never think that I have found such a connection between a musician/band and a director as with Herzog and Popol Vuh. All in all Aguirre is a great movie; powerful, exciting, beautiful and filled with themes.
Next stop: Cobra Verde. Stay tuned.