Friday, October 15, 2010

La Soufriere (1977)

When word that La Soufriere, a volcano, was about to explode Werner Herzog dropped everything and ran off to try and find the one inhabitant of the small island that didn't leave. Scientists were expecting an explosion of catastrophic proportions and fled themselves. When Herzog and his camera men arrived on the island they were greeted by a eerily silent landscape and a sense of impending doom.

The film that resulted from Herzog's trip is strange viewing experience. As Herzog remarks its as if he were dropped into a science fiction movie where everyone in the world has disappeared but the electric, phones and TVs still worked. Its a place where thousands of snakes fled the rumbling mountain by going into the ocean while the only humans around spend time getting closer to the danger. Its an odd experience as we watch and wait for what we are told is inevitable....

Herzog has made a film of stark beauty that is also deeply disturbing. There is something about it that is not quite right. Of course it has to do with the fact that the film is like real life Waiting for Godot, we are waiting for the end that never comes, despite all the signs. Its an unnerving proposition that messes with your head, but in a good way. Its 30 minutes well spent.

This is currently out in the Werner Herzog Documentary and short film box set from Herzog's web sit but also on a DVD of three short films of Herzog's work.

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