Herzog's "Fata Morgana" (5/24)

In 1969, Werner Herzog journeyed to the Sahara to film mirages — and in the process, came home with some wonderously trippy footage, and layered it with narration from charming film critic Lotte Eisner (a recitation of the Mayan “Popol Vuh” creation myth) to create this dense lasagna of a nature doc. One of Herzog’s earliest features, Fata Morgana begins with a audacious zoned-out opening, and immediately hits transcendent marks straight off, before getting even stranger as its chimerical imaginary civilization passes from Golden Age to Decline. As well, Herzog films like a tourist to a different planet — one where the presence of life is largely manifest through detritus and death: a car turns endlessly in circles, a bearded man in welding goggles flourishes a monitor lizard at the camera. Here, the onscreen subjects are frequently enhanced by the mythic, mirrored properties of the heat haze, and an eclectic soundtrack that switches from Handel organ music to Leonard Cohen, and onto a weird local drum/piano duo. An absolutely stunning Herzog head film!
Dir. Werner Herzog, 1971, DCP, 79 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Fata Morgana”!