Monday, 31 August 2009

flying doctors of east africa & la soufriere & the white diamond (herzog)

A Herzog doc triple bill of a Sunday lunchtime. Mr P and myself keeping an eye on the audience, trying to determine their provenance, finally deciding they were all German. Which they clearly were not.

The three films covered three continents, more or less, and came from three separate decades. The links however, include people placing themselves in remarkable situations, often perilous, with objectives that are tinged with a spiritual rather than a material dimension. A man who chooses to stay on the island of Guadeloupe, in spite of a mass evacuation, saying he has no fear of the death that the volcano might bring. The doctor who has no qualms about landing his plane on an airstrip whose dangers he lists as he and Herzog prepare to descend, the first plane to ever land on the strip. The scientist driven to fly his zeppelin over the jungle canopy in spite of, or because of, the fate of the friend who crashed in an earlier incarnation of the vehicle.

There's Werner to document it all, sharing their risk, revelling in the freedom to discover his camera has offered him over the course of forty years. Allowing their stories to unfold, step by step, always alert to the whimsical detail which brings the project down to earth: Mark Antony, whose best friend is his rooster, and who christens the airship a 'white diamond'; or the Masai whose fear of steps threatens to prevent them receiving the medicine the flying doctors want to bestow. Tracing the intersection between our 'modern' world, and an older ancient one, that persists.

Three hours of films and never a dull moment; the unexpected forever at the door, the story always told with a sense of purpose.

1 comment: said...

... and plenty of
wildy beasties