Monday, 30 May 2011

Review - Fata Morgana (1971 - Dir. Werner Herzog)

Well, where do you start on this one? The title means 'mirage' and the whole film is very dreamlike with no narrative structure. It sets out its stall in the opening four minutes. Four minutes of watching a plane land. And then land again. And again. All from the same viewpoint. 

Filmed in Africa, you get plenty of desert shots for your money. Stick a camera to the top of your van, point it at the desert and drive. That seems to have been the general thinking behind most of the shots. There are some trademark Herzog documentary style parts to add a little bit of spice to the mix. The director has envisaged it as an alien film crew coming to a desolate planning and filming deserts. Before you watch it, there is no alien film crew. Not even alien film crew voices. What you do get is some narration from the Mayan creation myth, Popol Vuh.

I can see this being half decent if you were in a dark cinema at two o'clock in the morning and you'd had a few Tizers. You could fall asleep and dream of desiccated cow corpses. That being said, there are some gorgeous shots within the film. Mainly of deserts, granted, but still beautiful. Also there is a brilliant club singer who has the dodgiest sound system going.

Werner Herzog should be the Patron Saint of obscurendure. Yet again he has come up with an obscurity that is truly a test of endurance. Clocking in at under eighty minutes you'd think you would have no problems. See how you get on watching just ten minutes on the clip below. Strangely, I vaguely enjoyed it. It's very hard to recommend to anyone though. If you enjoy the clip bump up the review score to five.

If you like this you could also try:
Anything by David Lynch, Even Dwarfs Started Small, Gummo.

Be honest, how long did you last?

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