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Aguirre, Wrath of God

Re-release of Werner Herzog's powerful 1976 drama, about man's ability to drive himself to the brink, possibly to self-destruction. Gonzalo Pizarro (Alejandro Repulles) enlists a troop of conquistador to travel deep into the Peruvian jungle, and to discover the whereabouts of the fabled city of El Dorado. Don Pedro de Ursua (Roy Guerra) leads the mission, aided by Don Lope de Aguirre (Klaus Kinski), but the responsibility weighs heavily upon him. Sensing weakness in his captain, Aguirre usurps the role of group leader, and drives the men onwards, leading them all deeper into the unknown and inevitably towards their doom. Florian Fricke's elegiac orchestrations underscore Herzog's haunting imagery, creating a powerful portrait of a man who dares to reach for greatness, and ends up destroying everybody (including himself) in the process. Kinski's intense performance is the lynchpin, simmering with fury and swollen pride as he literally sells his men down the river, to be picked off by the locals who lurk unseen in the lush jungle.