Jag Mandir

“Herzog’s oeuvre is often divided between his documentaries and his fiction films, but there are few directors for whom that distinction means so little — in almost all of his work, fiction and reality weave together in complicated ways. This is certainly true of Jag Mandir, about a folk art festival arranged in a remote region of India…[t]he film is presented as a record of a festival arranged by the Austrian actor, singer and conceptual artist André Heller, at the behest of a Maharajah who wanted his young son to witness the glory of Indian artistry before such local traditions were erased in the face of “McDonaldization.” The bulk of the film is dedicated to a simple document of the show itself: one group of performers after another takes the stage, dancing, playing music, juggling and displaying an array of marvelous costumes. The whole thing is pure spectacle, [b]ut the most impressive performance is probably the simplest, a traditional dance that Herzog excerpts at great length towards the end of the film: a mixed group of male and female dancers who continually rearrange themselves into delicately pulsating tableaux vivant. It is a hypnotic, beautiful slow motion dance, driven by stop/start rhythms and subtle choreography, and is a tremendous way to cap the grandeur and beauty of these rituals.” — Ed Howard, Only The Cinema

Dir. Werner Herzog, 1991, DigiBeta, 85 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Jag Mandir”!