Friday, July 18, 2008

Aguirre Wrath of God

We are deep into our Werner Hertzog season with Aguirre Wrath of God. I could have immersed myself into it better had I realised that it was inspired by Carvajal's diary, not based on it. So I was waiting patiently for scenes which never came, which distracted me from the magnificence of the film.

We watched Cobra Verde twice and I think maybe Aguirre will get a rerun too. Fitzcarraldo next, can hardly wait.

Long quote from Wikipedia:,_the_Wrath_of_God

Historical accuracy

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.

The film’s major characters, Aguirre, Ursúa, Guzman, Inez, and Florés, were indeed involved in a 1560 expedition that left Peru to find the city of El Dorado. Commissioned by Peru’s governor, Ursúa organized an expeditionary group of 300 men to travel by way of the Amazon River. He was accompanied by his mixed-race mistress, Dona Inez. At one point during the journey, Aguirre, a professional soldier, decided that he could use the 300 men to overthrow the Spanish rule of Peru. Aguirre had Ursúa murdered and proclaimed Guzman as “The Prince of Peru”. Guzman himself was eventually murdered when he questioned Aguirre’s scheme of sailing to the Atlantic, conquering Panama, crossing the isthmus and invading Peru. Many others who attempted to rebel against Aguirre were also killed. The surviving soldiers conquered Isla Margarita off the coast of Venezuela and made preparations to attack the mainland. 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. All of them accepted the deal. Immediately prior to his arrest, Aguirre murdered his daughter Florés, who had remained by his side during the entire journey. He was then captured and dismembered.[43]

Herzog’s screenplay merged the 1560 expedition with the events of an earlier Amazonian journey in 1541 – 1542. Like Ursúa, Gonzalo Pizarro and his men entered the Amazon basin in search of El Dorado. Various troubles afflicted the expedition and, sure that El Dorado was very close, Pizarro set up a smaller group led by Francisco de Orellana to break off from the main force and forge ahead, then return with news of what they had found. This group utilized a brigantine to journey down the river. Accompanying Orellana was Gaspar de Carvajal, who kept a journal of the group’s experiences. After failing to find the legendary city, Orellana was unable to return because of the current, and he and his men continued to follow the river until he reached the estuary of the Amazon in 1542.[4]


Post a Comment

<< Home