See The White Diamond now! 10/10

By February 8, 2006December 7th, 2011No Comments
Reading time: 2 minutes

Go see Werner Herzog’s 2004 documentary The White Diamond!

It’s one of his bests docs in my opinion. Better than Grizzly Man? Could very well be. This film is glorious. Basically, it’s about a visionary scientist who designs an airship for the purpose of flying over the rainforest. But that really doesn’t matter – the images you see on this film are just breathtaking and it’s a joy to watch. Herzog never ceases to amaze me and that’s why he’s my favorite filmmaker right now. I read a review on the imdb and it sums up my feelings on Herzog almost exactly:

I like Herzog’s films generally, but I think that he is most satisfying as a documentary filmmaker. It seems to me that Herzog is not really interested in “story,” the aesthetic feature which dominates the response of probably about 99% of the people who watch films in the United States. Herzog is interested, it seems to me, in visceral experiences, and the documentary form frees him more to explore this kind of experience.

I found this film thrilling. What is it “about”? There are lots of false leads for those viewers who want to reduce it to something package-able, but I don’t think it’s about “obsession,” as the Netflix blurb suggests. I also don’t think it’s simply about Dorrington, the Guyanese rain forest, adventure, or “atonement,” which is another Netflix suggestion. I think that, as Herzog would have it, the film is about something ineffable, perhaps whatever is behind that mammoth waterfall where millions of swifts live. Is that cave a metaphor for the world the camera is always trying to connect us to? It doesn’t matter. I think Herzog wants us to “experience” this film rather than to analyze it. Herzog seems to me to make films by following his gut instincts and there are times when his cinematic choices are thrilling. I am especially fond of his courage with long takes, holding the camera on Dorrington’s confessions long after we have become uncomfortable with them. I think Herzog is forcing us to experience Dorrington as a human being. If we choose to distance ourselves with analysis, that is our choice and I suspect that Herzog would shrug that response off and simply make another movie.

That’s exactly it. Herzog films are more about visceral experience and beauty. That is what I have always felt. This film shows you exactly what I am talking about. I highly recommend buying picking this up. Amazon has it 23% off.


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