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Who was Lope de Aguirre? Vincent Canby , writing in The New York Times , called it “[A] bsolutely stunning … Mr. Herzog views all the proceedings with fixed detachment.” He remains cool.

After waiting for the hot-tempered actor's inevitable tantrum to "burn itself out", Herzog would then roll the camera.

However, the small amount of money that had been set aside for post-synchronization "left Peru with the man in charge of the process; both absconded en route." In an early scene in which Pizarro instructs Ursúa to lead the scouting team down the river, in the script Pizarro mentions that in the course of the expedition Ursúa could possibly discover what happened to Francisco de Orellana's expedition, which had vanished without a trace years before (see "Historical Accuracy" section).

Herzog’s screenplay merged the 1560 expedition with the events of an earlier Amazonian journey in 1541 and 1542.

Years later, Herzog remembered the volatile actor and knew that it was only possible that he could play the mad Aguirre, and he feels Kinski a copy of the screenplay. This group utilized a brigantine to journey down the river. The power of the legendary opening sequence of Herzog's film...owes as much to Popol Vuh's music as it does to the director's mise-en-scène.”[17], Herzog explained how the choir-like sound was created, "We used a strange instrument, which we called a 'choir-organ.'

Much of the script was written during a 200-mile (320 km) bus trip with Herzog's football team. [37][38][39] Coppola himself has noted, "Aguirre, with its incredible imagery, was a very strong influence.

This flooding was immediately incorporated into the story, as a sequence of a flood and subsequent rebuilding of rafts was shot. Aguirre proves to be an oppressive leader, so terrifying that few protest his leadership.

..owes as much to Popol Vuh ‘mise-en-scene .

The cast and crew climbed up mountains, hacked through thick jungle, and rode ferocious Amazonian river rapids on rafts built by natives. Martin Rubin has written that "[a]mong the films strongly influenced by Aguirre are Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and Terrence Malick's The New World (2005)". He was accompanied by his mixed-race mistress, Doña Inez. Mutineers who survived his homicidal whims, sickened by all they had witnessed, ended his life in the violent manner befitting the monster: they shot him, beheaded him, and dispersed his body parts about the countryside as a warning to other would be traitors.”. He was then captured and dismembered.[42]. Aguirre was only the first of many collaborations between the band and the director. [4], The screenplay was shot as written, with some minor differences. The cast and crew climbed up mountains, hacked through thick jungle, and rode ferocious Amazonian river rapids on rafts built by native. The two had met many years earlier when the then-struggling young actor rented a room in Herzog’s family apartment, and Kinski’s often terrifying and deranged antics during the three months he lived there left a lasting impression on the director. Aguirre, the Wrath of God" in Donald F. Stevens (ed.) [34] [35] In 1977 the US National Film Critics Society gave it their “Best Cinematography” Award. He remains cool. Soon afterwards he is found strangled near the raft’s outhouse . At first dreamlike, hallucinatory And Then.” [19] Roger Ebert has added to his list of The Great Movies , [26] and in a 2002 Sight & Sound poll of critics and filmmakers on the best films ever made, Ebert listed in his top ten.

"[21] In Time, Richard Schickel opined that "[Herzog] does the audience the honor of allowing it to discover the blindnesses and obsessions, the sober lunacies he quietly lays out on the screen. [32] In 1976 it was voted the "Best Foreign Film" by the French Syndicate of Film Critics. [2]Herzog claims that Kinski asked for a lot of money for the dubbing session, and it was done by another actor. Also accompanying the expedition, against Pizarro's better judgment, are Ursúa's mistress, Doña Inés (Helena Rojo) and Aguirre's teenage daughter, Florés (Cecilia Rivera, in her only film role). Filming took place in the Peruvian rainforest on the Amazon River during an arduous five-week period, shooting on tributaries of the Ucayali region .

However, by that time Spanish authorities had learned of Aguirre’s plans, and when the rebels arrived in Venezuela, government agents offered full pardons to Aguirre’s men. ” [17]. In an early scene in which Pizarro instructs Ursúa to lead the scouting team down the river, in the script Pizarro mentions that in the race of the expedition Ursúa could possibly discover what happened to Francisco de Orellana’s expedition, which had vanished without a trace years before (see “Historical Accuracy” section). [13], The low budget precedes the use of stunt men or elaborate special effects . Other accounts state that the expedition went into the jungles but never returned to civilization.

The director and his cast and crew floated in Huallaga and Nanay rivers through the Urubamba Valley in Peru. [11] However, outside Germany the film became an "enormous cult favorite" in "such places as Mexico, Venezuela, and Algiers. One historian has described Aguirre and his exploits in the following way: “A subaltern of Francisco Pizarro during the Peruvian conquest, Aguirre mutinied against his leader and, with a handful of malcontents, embarked down the Amazon River in search of the fabled city of gold, El Dorado. [30] The film was ranked #19 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" in 2010. [12] However, outside Germany the film became an “enormous cult favorite” in “such places as Mexico, Venezuela, and Algiers.” [19] The film had a theatrical run of fifteen months in Paris. An Indian couple approaching peacefully by canoe is captured by the explorers, and when the man expresses confusion when presented with a Bible, Brother Carvajal kills them for blasphemy . Who else is with me? The soundtrack was performed by West German Progressive / Krautrock band Popol Vuh . Popol Vuh’s “hypnotic music” [16] for Aguirre puts with considerable acclaim. "[7], From the beginning of the production, Herzog and Kinski argued about the proper manner to portray Aguirre.

[citation needed], Although plot details and many of the characters in Aguirre come directly from Herzog’s own imagination, historians have pointed out that the film fairly accurately incorporates some 16th-century events and historical personages into a fictional narrative.

Using a minimalist story and dialogue, the film creates a vision of madness and folly, counterpointed by the lush but unforgiving Amazonian jungle. El Dorado was very close, Pizarro set up a smaller group by Francisco de Orellana to break out of the main force and forge ahead, then return with news of what they had found. The surviving soldiers conquered Isla Margarita off the coast of Venezuelaand made preparations to attack the mainland.

[33][34] In 1977 the National Society of Film Critics US gave it their "Best Cinematography" Award. He takes no sides. On the raft again, the group of slowly starving, feverish men begin disbelieving everything they see, even when shot with arrows. Aguirre alone remains alive on the slowly drifting raft.

Aguirre alone remains alive on the slowly drifting raft. Although he plotted the death of two high government officials, Pedro de Ursúa (the expedition’s officially appointed leader) and Fernando de Guzmán, and murdered dozens of his men for supposed offenses, none of his acts exceeded in cruelty his stabbing to death his mestiza daughter Elvira. On New Year’s EveReaching the end of his life and being unable to get on with the information, Pizarro orders a group of forty men to scout ahead by raft down river. The group attacks an Indian village, where several soldiers are killed by spears and arrows. Aguirre proves to be an oppressive leader, so terrifying that few protest his leadership. Aguirre leads a mutiny against Ursúa, saying that the rich untold await them ahead, and reminding them that Hernan Cortez won an empire in Mexico by disobeying orders. "[22] Time Out's Tony Rayns noted, "...each scene and each detail is honed down to its salient features. Ursúa wants to get back to camp for proper burial. [4]. To help you put the film within its historical context and address its historical accuracy, I have included directly below a series of supplemental sources for you to examine. Shooting was entirely on location, and was fraught with difficulties.

[21], In the US and the UK, the film received mostly positive critical notices upon release.

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