Thursday, October 12, 2006

See Kinski at His Most Intense... On the BIG Screen

Just received a tip (thanks Leonard!) that AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, Werner Herzog's epic tale of madness, will be screening at the Film Forum in NYC later this month. Considering that the Herzog/Kinski box set includes a full frame version of the film, this screening presents a unique opportunity to catch a new 35mm print of what many call Kinski's greatest performance.

From the website:

(1972) A long caravan — men in helmets and breastplates, native bearers, women carried in sedan chairs — snakes down a steep cliffside and up another on the opposite side of a jungle-covered valley, as wisps of mist mask the heights. A raft spinning in a whirlpool is covered with corpses the next morning. An abandoned horse stands motionless in the jungle. An elegantly dressed woman walks blankly through battling men into the wild. A boat rests high in the treetops. A native holds a book to his ear, hoping to hear “The Word of God.” Arrows fired by unseen hands whip across the water to bury themselves in flesh and armor on the flimsy rafts endlessly drifting downstream, with the last one bearing only a raving madman and a pack of scurrying monkeys. Is it a dream? Or — with Klaus Kinski redefining hubris as the limping, haunted-faced conquistador of the title, with his Machiavellian power ploys; psycho rants hurling out challenges to the entire Spanish empire even as his force dwindles away; and brutal head games in response to the first hint of opposition — is it a nightmare? (Kinski continued his obscene rants off-camera as well, with one threat to walk off the film while in the middle of the jungle, prompting Herzog to threaten to kill him — not metaphorically.) 29-year-old Herzog’s third feature — based on the real Aguirre’s quest for the lost city of El Dorado — established him as a filmmaker of unique vision and reckless eccentricity. Thomas Mauch’s award-winning photography — his eight-man crew nearly lost their equipment in rapids during a grueling six-week shoot in the Peruvian jungle — ravishes the eye as well as creating another world, reinforced by the striking music of Florian Fricke and his “krautrock” group Popol Vuh. “Absolutely stunning... One can feel the colors of the jungle and see the heat.” – Vincent Canby, The New York Times. “Astonishing... Clearly this is Herzog’s Heart of Darkness.” – David Sterritt. “The sinister silences of the jungle, the eerie calm of the river, the sense of being totally adrift from any recognizable signposts of civilization has rarely been conveyed with such tactile immediacy... Herzog conveys this in images that are literally unforgettable.” – David Ansen. A NEW YORKER FILMS RELEASE.

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