Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Been in a funk the last couple days--can't shake it. No better time to receive from Netflix a DVD of Lessons of Darkness. Werner Herzog has perhaps the most bleak aesthetic I've encountered, and yet his films are curiously beautiful. This short documentary was shot in Kuwait after the first Gulf War. National parks are Mordor-esque regions of oil fields, mirroring the sky in rainbow black sheen. Fired wells spout environmental catastrophe. We tour a torture chamber, Herzog occasionally reads from Revelations in that raspy accented monotone, and Wagner swells from the surround system.


A woman wanted to tell us something. She was taken away by soldiers with her two sons, and forced to watch as they were tortured to death. As a result she has lost her speech, but still tries to tells us what happened.

The woman moves her hands occasionally, says "Allah" with eyes raised, shrugs, tries to speak, can't. It's mesmerizing, and one can imagine why Ian Curtis hung himself after watching one of Herzog's films. Make sure the pills, liquor, and razors are secure before viewing.

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