The 70s established Herzog as the most defiantly visionary of directors. In Every Man for Himself (And God Against All), Heart of Glass, Nosferatu the Vampire and his amazing documentary about the Guadeloupean volcano La Soufriere, he created worlds beyond civilization, whose ravishing beauty could drive intruders mad. Who better to play the overweening man, intoxicated to the point of insanity, than Klaus Kinski, Herzog’s house demon? (Herzog made a fascinating documentary, the 1998 My Best Fiend, about his hectic relationship with the actor.) Aguirre is the prototype Herzog-Kinski collaboration, about a Spanish explorer who loses his mission, men and mind on an Amazon adventure. Answering only to the logic of Peru’s natural beauty, the film seems an examination of madness from the inside. Sumptuous, spellbinding and immediately, eternally scary.
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