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Fata Morgana1971

  • 3.7
Possibly Werner Herzog's most experimental work, FATA MORGANA defies categorization. Is it a narrative feature? A documentary? A metaphysical essay on film? As the director himself has noted, it regards Earth and its creatures as if from the curious, alienated viewpoint of interplanetary visitors. The first section, "Creation," captures Sahara Desert landscapes so stark that they seem to defy life-forms to survive there. The remaining two parts ("Paradise" and "the Golden Age") approach human civilization warily with an ever-increasing sense of absurdist humor. Voiceover narration includes the voice of prominent German film critic/historian Lotte Eisner and excerpts from the Mayan mystical text the Popul Vuh (not to be confused with the same-named musicians who scored Herzog's later films). Musical choices underline the idiosyncrasy of the overall vision, ranging from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Leonard Cohen to the respectively "heavy" and freeform improvisational rock of Blind Faith and Third Ear Band. While much of FATA MORGANA is meditative and gently thought-provoking, its making was not without peril: at one point in Cameroon the director and crew were beaten, arrested and jailed because a crew member was mistaken for a German mercenary on the lam from authorities. - Dennis Harvey

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1 member likes this review

Just when I thought films couldn't blindside me anymore this came out of nowhere. You'll know in the first minute whether or not it's for you.

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Member Reviews (4)

153444.small
filmmaker

Just when I thought films couldn't blindside me anymore this came out of nowhere. You'll know in the first minute whether or not it's for you.

1 member likes this review
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I was creeped out by the messages of this film. I dont know what to think

1 member likes this review

Three minutes of watching fucking planes landing was more than enough. If the cinematography had at least been captivating it might have been worth my time.

A travelogue of the South Sahara one would not encounter on the National Geographic channel. A visual tone poem rather than a symphony there is no plot or narrative. Writing about this film is kind of useless - attempting to articulate the inarticulate, the subliminal.

I could do without the subtitles, which interfere with the visual aspects. (But then, I understand German a bit.) Full disclosure - something of a fan of Werner Herzog.