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Successful films on metaphysical subjects are rare, but Fata Morgana is a
good case. You can chalk up the large subject to the ambitions of youth,
but Herzog does an amazingly good job. The movie's point is to show human
beings, and even the world, from a non-human point of view.
The movie is in three parts: Creation, Paradise, and The Golden Age. The
imagery of each is in counterpoint to the voice-over. Although the text of
`The Creation' (from the Popol Vuh, a Mayan myth) refers to the primordial
wasteland, the scene goes no further in illustrating the myth. It dwells
the waste, and on various specimens of destruction (fire, smoke, wrecked
vehicles). The images from `Paradise' are anything but that, and `The
Golden Age' is darkly comic the highest culture is the strange roadside
The Popol Vuh suggests that mankind is the central object of creation, but
the movie does everything it can to undo this notion. Its mythological
framework has no referent in human historical time. There are no human
characters to speak of. When a boy stands with a dog in an extended shot,
the initial suggestion is of the boy's point of view; by the end it is much
more the dog's. Likewise the lizard is a stronger character than the human
who introduces it, and the turtle's partner barely looks human with his big
Animal stories and nature documentaries always anthropomorphize, but Fata
Morgana has none of that. Certainly the dunes look like a female body, but
the simile cuts both ways. Presumably only humans can distinguish easily
between their creation and nature, and here airplanes and factories are
presented alongside mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. People and
civilization are all part of a broader natural landscape.
In 1979 Herzog put a new twist on the idea when he remade Nosferatu from
vampire's point of view.
Tags for Fata Morgana Full Movie
Eugen Des Montagnes
, James William Gledhill
, Lotte Eisner
, Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg
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