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Films >> Aguirre: The Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes) (1972) >>

A breath-taking journey into the heart of darkness.

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Set in the late sixteenth century, this German film depicts the journey of the audacious and mutinous Lope de Aguirre and his men subsequent to the Spanish conquest of the Inca. These soldiers face the adversities of the Amazon River searching for the legendary city of gold, El Dorado. Aguirre, second-in-command to Pedro de Ursua, orders the destruction of a raft holding the corpses of other Spanish conquistadors trapped in an eddy and killed by Indians, thwarting Ursua’s orders for a proper burial and knowing his act of sabotage will gain him power among the rest of the explorers. The rebellion evolves and escalates from there, and soon all those in opposition to Aguirre’s dictating rule are killed. Aguirre takes total command of an increasingly crazed and starved group of men through terror and oppression, and the outcome of his expedition proves singularly unfruitful. At the end of the film, a sniper-like Indian attack decimates the band of hapless questers, leaving a motionless Aguirre stranded with no live companions except a group of squeaking monkeys serving to overrun the raft. Aguirre contains the most lunatic portrayal of an animalistic hunt for gold of all the conquest films. We see Aguirre's descent from evil to deteriorated insanity. In the end, he is nothing more than the animals he is amongst.

Carina Meleca

The best men say of Lope Aguirre is that he may have been mad.