Gesualdo - Death for Five Voices - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gesualdo - Death for Five Voices Reviews

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½ November 23, 2013
Entertaining and interesting, though Herzog's fake narrative is distracting this time, particularly the "reincarnation of Maria D'Avalos", which was clearly made up and pretty silly. Zeitlinger's camera is fun for once.
November 12, 2013
Not my favorite, but still captivating in its own way.
October 30, 2013
A character that was too perfect a match for Herzog's liking, this documentary on the tragic figure Gesualdo reflects much of Herzog's uniqueness but there does seem to be a bit of a difference in execution compared to his other documentaries. Perhaps his passion is more thoroughly seen.
June 23, 2013
As always, the subject matter is strong and Herzog adds something to take this away from the stuffy-documentary vibe but for me he goes a bit too far this time. Herzog always throws his weight around and I'm usually fond of the outcome but this one stray too far from the source material- it is simply fiction at times and while I enjoyed said fiction, I really learnt very little about Gesualdo in this one and that's a disappointment. I ended up learning more about Herzog and the spirit of Italy at the time, both interesting things but as a documentary this doesn't amount to much. It's a scrap book of some of Herzog's many obscure ideas thrown in to an, otherwise, pretty standard documentary.

Herzog himself states that this one "runs amok" but he understandably sees that as a pro whereas I found it to be a con in this case, quite literally. Artistic embellishment is good and well but portraying fiction as fact amongst actual truths is pretty deceitful and confusing for example, the story of the murders is correct whereas Gesualdo killing his second child in the manner described was completely scripted by Herzog and that is the story that I found most interesting. In a film it would be great but this is supposed to be a documentary and while I'm used to Herzog's ways this one just blurs the lines too much for me. In addition to that, when it is factual, its tone is far from the playful, yet oddly haunting charm that resonates throughout the scripted scenes. It's usually just a scholar reading from a book as you would see in any documentary. Some scenes, scripted or otherwise, also offer little to the film- at times I found the performances of the music to be the only times I'd actually learn something about Gesualdo. Nonetheless, Herzog doesn't hold back and this is yet another interesting and memorable piece of work but there's little of worth to take from it, especially if one views it as a documentary. This is for Herzog fans only (like myself) but his experimentation leaves this documentary well below what I expect from him.
March 21, 2011
i just love me some herzog
March 19, 2011
Herzog visits madrigal composer Gesualdo's castle and asks various scholars, musicians, and local handymen to recount what they know about him. Turns out that he murdered his wife and her lover when he caught them in flagrante delicto. It also turns out that a number of the stories about Gesualdo were simply made up by Herzog (to capture his ecstatic truth rather than the accountant's truth). Herzog continues his tradition of narrating the film in his distinctive German accent even when it means translating what the talking heads are saying rather than using subtitles. (This is how Joaquin Phoenix knew that Herzog was rescuing him after a car accident.) If I knew more about madrigals, I might have enjoyed this film more.
½ November 7, 2010
When doing documentaries Werner Herzog often finds the most crazy people out there and classic italian composer Carlo Gesualdo is no different. But madness and genius often go hand in hand when it comes to art and that is what Werner Herzog has understood. This is not one of his best documentaries, but it is intersting no matter what.
October 19, 2010
Werner Herzog's kooky, anachronistic/obsolete, Romantic/Gothic presentation of decadent aristocracy and the cult of the (amateur) artist. Or is it so out of touch, given our state of late/monopoly/finance capitalism, the society of the spectacle and the cult of celebrity? Of course, Herzog fails to consciously make the connection. Indeed the film(maker) is confused. For example, take the claim that Gesualdo's sound world was not to be conceived again until the late-nineteenth-century. Is that a claim for or against progress in music?
Super Reviewer
½ April 11, 2010
Fantastic documentary that has a really haunting story to tell- magnificent music and the portrait of a madman/genius who was a few centuries ahead of his time!
½ December 25, 2009
Gesualdo was apparently an alchemist, a murder, and insane!

But he was a composer who was the predecessor to Wagner. And his ghost doesn't like bagpipe music, since someone is playing it to cracks in a wall to get rid of it!


How many people did this guy have killed? Who knows?

Obsessive and mad, of course Herzog makes a documentary of him. Probably because Herzog loves Wagner so much. AND NUTJOBS!

Seriously though, I could listen to Herzog narrate just about anything and love it. His fucking german supervillian accent. He sounds like he should be fighting Captain American instead of making 100's of 1,000's of films. But alas, Captain America cannot save us from Werner, a man who ate his own shoe once. BECAUSE WERNER DOES NOT RENEGE ON A BET!


This movie is 60 minutes long. It's got a great running time. There's no excuse not to watch this. Put off watching Lost or whatever it is you people watch and kill an hour with this instead. Or else the ghost of Gesualdo will kill you. But he probably will anyway. Because you slept with his wife.

Also, G was apparently a terrible composer. But he might not be. WHO KNOWS? I DON'T!?

He also talks to a red headed woman with giant tits who probably was a ghost, "I live in heaven, but if you rent a helicopter you can find me." And I'm pretty sure he cuts right before she starts masturbating to this dude's music.

And the fucking jockey in the hat. Oh man.

Why has no one on the facebook seen this yet? Fuck you.
September 1, 2009
Fascinating, with exquisite music
½ October 15, 2008
hail carlo gesualdo! hail werner herzog! very strange documentary, but really interesting and memorable.
½ August 8, 2008
Herzog style gonzo documentary about the italian composer Gesualdo.Worth an hour of your life.
June 6, 2008
The voice over was suitably manic as they tell the tale of Gesualdo cutting down an entire forest with his bare hands after killing his family ('follow me, let me show you what he did next!') Overall though,this film is rather amateurish and surprisingly shoddy. Unthinkably poor, given it's Herzog.
½ May 20, 2008
Yet another exemplar of Herzog's quest to find the ecstatic truth under the obscenity of nature. Herzog rich poetic documentaries find their stories between the facts and Gesualdo is as good as any of his work in that respect.
½ March 20, 2008
I'm not sure who's madder, Gesualdo or Herzog.
½ February 20, 2008
an awesome documentary by our good friend herzog concerning an eccentric opera composer/prince of vensosa from the 16th century
November 9, 2007
I can't believe I haven't seen a movie named after a 16th-century avantgarde composer. Go figger!
½ November 4, 2007
A cook's wife screaming "diablo", a mad opera singing redhead, and a kid dressed as an angel strung up above a town...Made for TV? Someone please sort me out with the Herzog Channel.
½ October 18, 2007
where does he find them?
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