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"Of the Creatures who are doomed to perish, to fall": Mythology and Time in Herzog's Apocalyptic Science Fiction Films

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journal contribution
posted on 22.05.2017, 04:53 by Tyson Namow
This essay analyses German filmmaker Werner Herzog’s (b. 1942- ) films Fata Morgana (1970), Lessons of Darkness (Lektionen in Finsternis) (1992) and The Wild Blue Yonder (2005). Each of these films shares formal characteristics,
such as being divided by chapter inter-titles and using voice
over narration. However, they also have different iconographic features.
Fata Morgana is set in the natural, desert landscapes of Africa. It shows quiet, other-worldly beauty among the ruins of civilisation. The landscapes in this film contain disintegrating relics of human culture, such as wrecked
automobiles, aeroplanes and other machine parts. It is not until the twenty minute mark of the film that the first human figure is seen. They are sublimely dwarfed on the horizon line of an immense desert terrain. Lessons of Darkness is set in Kuwait at the end of the first Gulf War during the period when the last of the burning oil wells were being extinguished. The film presents Kuwait as an unnamed planet that exists somewhere in our solar system.


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