HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Where the Green Ants Dream The Waiting Game
Year: 1984
Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika, Ray Barrett, Norman Kaye, Ralph Cotterill, Nick Lathouris, Basil Clarke, Ray Marshall, Dhungala I. Makika, Gary Williams, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Robert Brissenden, Bob Ellis, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Colleen Clifford
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lance Hackett (Bruce Spence) is a geologist working in the Australian Outback who has been having trouble with the local Aborigines since he has been employed by a mining company to work on land that traditionally belonged to them. At the moment, however, he has to contend with a little old lady (Colleen Clifford) who has lost her pet dog and is convinced the technology available to Lance will enable him to find the pooch, but he has to reason with her that is would take very specific conditions for the equipment to pick up the movements of her beloved companion. Just as he is explaining all this, his colleague Cole (Ray Barrett) informs him there is trouble outside: those Aborigines are a stubborn lot.

And that was the basic set up which director Werner Herzog, once established, stuck to for the rest of the ninety minutes it took to relate his story. Writing with Bob Ellis, a prolific Australian screenwriter who also took a small role as a cynical supermarket manager, Herzog married his usual concerns about the implacability of the natural world to a set of characters who would encapsulate that sense of refusing to cave in to the world of so-called progress. The director invented a whole mythos for the natives to adhere to where they were protesting thanks to their belief that if the mining went ahead, it would drive away the green ants which in turn would spell the end of the whole planet.

None of that exists in actual Aborigine legends and teachings, but like Peter Weir's The Last Wave it sounded authentic to outsiders' ears and that was all that mattered to get his point across, something to do with the way that it wasn't worth trying to get this representation of an ancient, globe-deep setting of the way that nature worked to change their mind as they had all those aeons of history on their side, and the white guys merely had some earth moving vehicles and explosives. It's the sort of premise that could have made for a charming comedy, but in Herzog's hands he approached it with a very grave concern, as if he was actually depicting a real land battle, almost in documentary style given he could just as easily have made a factual work on the subject.

The problems that Australia's indigenous population suffered once the new influx from the West arrived have been well-documented, and Herzog saw these first hand when casting for those roles in his movie, which had patently given him a sympathy with their plight and beliefs (even if he did have to make up some for the sake of his plot), though perhaps he was more identifying with the Lance character. He is supposed to be in the pay of the mining company, yet in right-on fashion he has a spiritual awakening and his conscience is raised the further the Aborigines push their campaign, right up to a court case which was based on real incidents of their feelings that they had more right to the land the corporations and the government were, in their view, exploiting.

All very worthy, but many have an issue with Where the Green Ants Dream, which is their belief that it comes across as simplistic and even amateurish in its delivery. Certainly the Aborigines recruited to play the relevant cast were not professional actors, but Herzog had a liking for placing those with no acting experience front and centre in his works, and you could regard these as simply more in that tradition, so as a whole the general air was unmistakably of this director's canon and methods, merrily inventing various aspects (such as recurring shots of tornados from America to hint at an apocalypse to come) that were designed to reach a truth that an unadorned show of earnest politicising would fail to achieve. We never find out if the little old lady found her dog, but then we likewise don't discover what happens to the aeroplane the natives request in return for the land rights, then just keep while continuing to refuse to budge, but it's all destined to send Lance off on his own journey which Herzog indicates is the most satisfying consequence.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1647 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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: