In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent. Pop, would go one of the six-inch guns; a small flame would dart and vanish, a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech – and nothing happened.
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
Aguirre: the Wrath of God is one of those movies that has almost become more famous for what happened on the set than what happens on screen. The tempestuous relationship between the young German director Werner Herzog and his wildman star Klaus Kinski is notorious and the story of how Herzog ended up threatening Kinski with a gun to get him to behave has been well rehearsed; there’s little point in going over it all again here.
Of course the parallels are irresistible: Europeans struggling to adapt to the tropical terrain; a mission hijacked by an insubordinate madman; problems communicating with the locals; logistics from hell. We could just as easily be talking about the making of the movie as the movie itself. Continue reading Firing into a continent