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Aguirre, the Wrath of God (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on May 2, 2013

15 amazing, wonderful, transcendent moments in Aguirre, the Wrath of God:

1) A line of figures seen from a great distance winds it way down a steep mountainside, looking like a trail of ants.  Off to the side of the mountain is a wall of cloud and fog.

2) A close-up of the rumbling river, slowed down to show the detail of its chaotic turbulence… the river that will be a tormented struggle for these people.  The eerie score by Popol Vuh plays.

3) One of the rafts gets stuck in an eddy, circling helplessly on the opposite side of the river from the rest of the men.  In the morning, all the men from the raft are missing or dead.  Don Pedro de Ursua (Ruy Guerra) pronounces that they will bring the bodies back to the main camp for a Christian burial.  Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) turns to his henchman (Daniel Ades) and says, “Perucho, don’t you think the cannon’s getting a bit rusty?”  Perucho blows up the raft.

4) Aguirre presents his daughter Flores (Cecilia Rivera) with a miniature sloth.

5) One of the Indian slaves plays a ditty on his flute.  Aguirre stands by and stares at him, lost in thought.

6) Balthazar (voice by Christian Brückner) tells of how he was once a prince named Runo Rimac.  The Spaniards have taken everything away from him and now he must bow to them.  Still he feels sorry for them, because he knows they will never make it out of the jungle alive.

7) The men advance on a burning village.  Aguirre drives Okello (Edward Roland) at the head of the pack, knowing his black skin will scare the natives.  They find no one there… but there is evidence of cannibalism.

8) Aguirre yells at the horse to get out of his way.  It falls down.

9) Don Fernando de Guzman (Peter Gerling) gluttonously tears into a feast of fish and fruit.  As he complains about the lack of salt, the men behind him are counting out individual kernels of corn for themselves.

10) Maybe my favorite scene in the entire film: Guzman becomes enraged at the horse and has it thrown off the raft.  The horse swims for shore, and as the raft drifts away we see it staring at us, standing in some isolated thicket on the riverbank.  What will happen to this horse?  Aguirre assures Flores that it will be fine.

11) Inez (Helena Rojo), her fate doomed after the loss of Ursua, makes a choice and takes her chances.  She quietly strolls into the thick of the jungle, never to be seen again.

12) Aguirre overhears one of the men plotting desertion.  Again, he turns to Perucho and says, “That man is a head taller than me.  That may change.”

13) One of the men, delirious from hunger, calmly studies a butterfly that has landed on his finger.

14) Okello describes a great ship he sees hanging from a tall treetop, with a canoe dangling from its bow.  Carvajal (Del Negro) tells him he is hallucinating, but Aguirre sees it too.  And so do we.

15) Monkeys.  Need I say more?

Rating: Masterpiece (98)


6 Responses to “Aguirre, the Wrath of God (rewatch)”

  1. nancy said

    is this your fav movie of all time?

  2. Iza Larize said

    My fave part? Klaus Kinski being himself: crazy.

  3. […] 6. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog) […]

  4. […] 3. Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog) […]

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