La Soufrière 1977 + Lessons of Darkness 1992 Ages 12+

1.00PM Sat 1 Jul 2017 (1hr 20mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free

SYNOPSIS

La Soufrière 1977 (30 mins) Ages 12+

There is a definite element of self-mockery in the film; everything that looks dangerous and doomed ultimately ends up in utter banality. In retrospect I thank God on my knees it wasn't otherwise … It would have been ridiculous to have been blown sky high with two colleagues while making a film.

Werner Herzog has stated that the genesis of this short documentary emerged when he heard reports of an imminent volcanic eruption on the island of Guadeloupe and the refusal of one of the island's residents to evacuate. Herzog and his crew trek across the island, studying the abandoned houses and the animals left behind, before boldly climbing up to the mouth of the volcano. La Soufrière is one of the filmmaker's most nail-biting studies of the power of nature and the relationship humanity holds with its immense force.

Lessons of Darkness 1992 (50 mins) Ages 12+

The world had been saturated night and day with images of the burning oil wells in Kuwait, but through the filter of television news. I remember watching those broadcasts and knowing I was witnessing a momentous event that had to be recorded, but in a unique way for the memory of mankind … War has no fascination for me beyond its absurdity and insanity, and 'Lessons of Darkness' consciously transcends the topical and the particular; this could be any war and any country. The film is about the evil that human beings are capable of, which is why it will never age.

Lessons of Darkness will screen from an archival 35mm film print.

A visual document of the Kuwaiti oil fields ablaze in the aftermath of the Gulf War, Lessons of Darkness presents a dark vision of a hellish landscape. Wrought by war and calamity, Herzog shows a world filled with unfathomable destruction. The tenor of the film is such that is was initially accused of aestheticising the horrors of war but Herzog's intent is not so simple. He desires to bring scope and weight to these images in a way that the inherent cinematographic limitations of television journalism never could. In doing so, he has crafted a mesmerising quasi companion piece to his earlier Fata Morgana 1971, another totemic visual poem that utilises landscapes as its narrative language. Herzog's spare narration offers only distant, almost alien, insights; there is no simple political rumination to bring meaning to these images, that would suggest too much order in these events.

CREDITS

La Soufrière 1977

16MM, COLOUR, MONO, 30 MINS, WEST GERMANY, GERMAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: WERNER HERZOG / CINEMATOGRAPHERS: EDWARD LACHMAN, JÖRG SCHMIDT-REITWEIN / EDITOR: BEATE MAINKA-JELLINGHAUS / PRODUCTION CO: WERNER HERZOG FILMPRODUKTION / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: WERNER HERZOG FILM GMBH / SCREENING FORMAT: DCP

(Lektionen in Finsternis) Lessons of Darkness 1992

16MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 50 MINS, FRANCE/UK/GERMANY, GERMAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: WERNER HERZOG / CINEMATOGRAPHERS: SIMON WERRY, PAUL BERRIFF, RAINER KLAUSMANN / EDITOR: RAINER STANDKE / PRODUCTION CO: CANAL+, PREMIÈRE, WERNER HERZOG FILMPRODUKTION / PRINT SOURCE: DEUTSCHE KINEMATHEK / RIGHTS: WERNER HERZOG FILM GMBH / SCREENING FORMAT: 35MM