Screened as part of Autumn Events 2014
Once seen, never forgotten, this hallucinatory epic of Spanish conquistadors unhinged in the Amazon is the definitive Werner Herzog expedition to the edge. It was also the first of his fiery collaborations with the demonic Klaus Kinski. Drawing on a number of historical accounts, Aguirre traces the escalating paranoia and grandiose delusions of the mutinous Lope de Aguirre as he and his captive, ever-diminishing crew raft down an Amazonian river in search of El Dorado. The insanity of the venture is mirrored in the borderline sanity of filmmaker and scantily resourced crew making a film in the same jungle location. As the untested rafts drift and hurtle down the mighty river it’s obvious the extreme dangers and discomfits depicted are not being faked. Legend has it that the psychic warfare on screen was just as real: Herzog and Kinski each threatened to kill the other before filming reached its conclusion with the staggering final scene.