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Lessons of Darkness

Germany, 1992 (MIFF 2001, Burden of Dreams – Werner Herzog)

Director: Werner Herzog

First screened to rapt audiences at MIFF 1993, Lessons Of Darkness is Herzog's meditation on the apocalyptic aftermath of the Guff War. Tragedy and beauty are blended in aerial photography that glides over the ruins of the battlefields of Kuwait. The oil fires that raged for months afterward, the shells of destroyed tanks, trucks and aircraft, the toll in human life and the attempts to reclaim the desert landscape form the core of this emotive and lovingly constructed film.

Herzog's chopper shots glide through the pall of smoke that almost blots out the sun and pause to observe the efforts of fearless US firefighters attempting to cap gushing wells that spout liquid flames. The director's passionate and cautionary documentary provides a clear glimpse of what total global destruction could look like. Herzog referred to Lessons Of Darkness as a science fiction film, alluding to the cinematography that presents images that cannot be recognised as being shot on this planet. Accompanied by a solemn but unforgettable score consisting of Arvo Part, Wagner, Mahler and Prokofiev, this is a landmark documentary.

See also...

LENZ

Germany/Switzerland, 2006
With a sweeping grandeur and the elemental passion and curiosity we've come to associate with Werner Herzog, director Thomas Imbach's Lenz creates an unconventional portrait of a tortured visionary c… More »

WILD BLUE YONDER, THE

Germany, France, UK, 2005
“Astronauts lost in space, the secret Roswell object re-examined, an alien who tells us all about his home planet - the Wild Blue Yonder - where the atmosphere is composed of liquid helium and the … More »

RESCUE DAWN

USA, 2006
“Packs a wrenching emotional punch.” - Variety Rescue Dawn is Werner Herzog's second homage to German born, US Air Force pilot Dieter Dengler who was shot down during the Vietnam War and forced … More »

MISTER LONELY

UK/France/Ireland/USA, 2006
“I started dreaming about flying nuns falling out of airplanes and praying the whole way down and surviving. Then I started to fixate upon specific images and characters. One of them was the idea o… More »

ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD

USA, 2007
“Should render contrite all who say there is nothing left for movies to show us that we haven't seen before.” - Variety ... One thousand men and women live together in unbelievably close quarters… More »

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