Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Movie: Lessons in Darkness by Werner Herzog

"Lektionen in Finsternis" (1992) or "Lessons in Darkness" by Werner Herzog is an uncommon documentary filmed in Kuwait during and after the war. Werner's website claims,
"An apocalyptic vision featuring the oilwell fires in Kuwait after the Gulf-War, as a whole world burst into flames. This film is stylized as science fiction, as there is not a single shot in which you can recognize our planet."

Werner gives the viewer almost no information about what is displayed, much like one of my other favorite movies Koyaanisqatsi, it relies on the visuals alone to tell a very compelling story.

The most stunning image of the film was the extinguishing of a large burning oil well. A metal drum packed with high explosives was slowly held over the torrent of fire by a long crane whilst being cooled by jets of water. Once in the center of the blaze, the high explosives detonated, creating a large explosion. This removed enough oxygen to extinguish the burning oil well. In the next shot, the firefighters were covered in oil now raining down from the sky. Truly fighting fire with fire.

The Narrator:
"Two figures are approaching an oil well. One of them holds a lighted torch. What are they up to? Are they going to rekindle the blaze? Is life without fire become unbearable for them?... Others, seized by madness, follow suit. Now they are content. Now there is something to extinguish again."

I highly recommend you watch this thought provoking movie. Download the film as a torrent (for this you will need BitTorrent). 52 minutes, 700 MB. It is also available via Netflix and Amazon.