Lessons Of Darkness

  • 1992
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

LESSONS OF DARKNESS takes place predominately in the burning oil fields of the Persian Gulf. By judiciously assembling some remarkable shots, Werner Herzog has created a brilliant, unforgettable documentary-epic. LESSONS OF DARKNESS is divided into 12 sections, beginning with "A Capital City," a panoramic view of Baghdad prior to the 1990 US bombing of...read more

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LESSONS OF DARKNESS takes place predominately in the burning oil fields of the Persian Gulf. By judiciously assembling some remarkable shots, Werner Herzog has created a brilliant, unforgettable documentary-epic.

LESSONS OF DARKNESS is divided into 12 sections, beginning with "A Capital City," a panoramic view of Baghdad prior to the 1990 US bombing of Iraq, and "The War," a fragment of grainy nighttime bombing footage shown on CNN at that time. The remaining 10 sections ("Finds From Torture Chambers," "Satan's National Park," "Dinosaurs on the March," etc.) detail the extraordinary environmental aftereffects of both the bombing and Saddam Hussein's subsequent burning of the Kuwaiti oil fields. Herzog meticulously constructs the images in a way that develops a point of view about his subject. In a shrewd way, he pays tribute to the power of silent film by refusing to add more than a spare voice-over to

the shots, and by using old-fashioned but ironic intertitles to describe each section. Observing the American firefighters at the end, Herzog bitterly remarks (in the voice-over) that man has not learned his lesson from this nightmare: "What are they up to? Are they going to rekindle the blaze? Has life without fire consumed them?...Now they are content. Now there is something for them to extinguish again."

Formally rich yet philosophically solid, boldly operatic yet quietly poetic, politically critical yet mystically transcendent, LESSONS OF DARKNESS is pure cinema.

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  • Released: 1992
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: LESSONS OF DARKNESS takes place predominately in the burning oil fields of the Persian Gulf. By judiciously assembling some remarkable shots, Werner Herzog has created a brilliant, unforgettable documentary-epic. LESSONS OF DARKNESS is divided into 12 sec… (more)

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