HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
It Happened Here
Giant from the Unknown
211
Top of the Bill
Set It Off
No Way Out
Traffik
Pitch Perfect 3
Insidious: The Last Key
Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, The
Dirty Carnival, A
King of Hearts
Crowhurst
And the Same to You
Racer and the Jailbird
Superman and the Mole-Men
Phantom Thread
Sweet Country
Loophole
Irma La Douce
Brigsby Bear
Wish Upon
Gringo
Finding Vivian Maier
Shape of Water, The
Lady Bird
Endless, The
Universal Soldier: The Return
Lean on Pete
Carnival in Flanders
   
 
Newest Articles
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
   
 
  Soufriere, La Under The VolcanoBuy this film here.
Year: 1977
Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, various
Genre: Documentary
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1976, a volcano on the island of Guadeloupe known locally as La Soufriere began to spew noxious gases and scientists became convinced that it was about to erupt with the power of a number of atomic bombs. When filmmaker Werner Herzog heard of this, he immediately gathered his small film crew and headed over there to document the events, not least because he had heard that there was one man who had refused to participate in the evacuation of the islanders. When they reached the town, they found it apparently deserted...

This was one of Herzog's most infamous documentaries, not for what happened in it but for what did not happen. All the way through he was expecting the volcano to explode and as the days dragged on, his waiting game ended up at stalemate; we can be thankful for the history of world cinema that the director was not killed in a volcanic eruption, but it leaves him in a self-confessed state of embarrassment that his cameras recorded nothing of a tumultuous event. He sounds disappointed in his narration, as if dying for his art would be the perfect ending for him.

To complement these feelings are those of the three men - not simply one - who the crew find around the now-empty town. They are happy to embrace death and see it as God's will for them to expire in this manner, believing it to be the natural order of things and you get the impression that Herzog, with his view of nature, would agree. However his universe is more of a godless one than the men he interviews, and in his view tragedies such as volcanoes wiping out whole communities are the result of an order which has no compassion, and will destroy and kill without any feeling, as opposed to the trio who have stayed behind who percieve more unknowable intelligence behind what is happening.

At one point Herzog describes the abandoned town as looking like something out of a science fiction movie, and this fits with his other documentaries where he presents his incredible footage as exactly that. Here, however, his story is kept to a brief half hour and there is no time for such indulgences, although one is reminded of any number of films or television series where the world has been left devoid of living people as the camera scans the streets, noting the odd animal there such as a donkey or starving (or starved) dog - and nothing else. There is an explanation about why the town was evacuated as in 1902 a neighbouring island was devastated by a similar volcano, killing thousands, but this time the catastrophe does not occur. For a film about nothing happening La Soufriere holds the attention: it's all about those remarkable images and those men who saw themselves as so low down the social ladder that they took their impending death as something to accept without question.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1395 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Werner Herzog  (1942 - )

Eccentric German writer/director known equally for his brilliant visionary style and tortuous filming techniques. After several years struggling financially to launch himself as a filmmaker, Herzog began his career with the wartime drama Lebenszeichen and surreal comedy Even Dwarfs Started Small. But it was the stunning 1972 jungle adventure Aguirre, Wrath of God that brought him international acclaim and began his tempestuous working relationship with Klaus Kinski. The 1975 period fable Heart of Glass featured an almost entirely hypnotised cast, while other Herzog classics from this era include Stroszek, the gothic horror Nosferatu the Vampyre and the spectacular, notoriously expensive epic Fitzcarraldo.

Herzog's subsequent work is perhaps less well known but he has continued to direct both provocative feature films (Cobra Verde, Invincible, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans) and intriguing documentaries, most notably My Best Fiend, detailing his love/hate relationship with the late Kinski and 2005's highly acclaimed Grizzly Man. Herzog has also been the subject of two Les Blank documentaries: Burden of Dreams (about the making of Fitzcarraldo) and the hilarious Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (in which he does just that).

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
   

 

Last Updated: