La Soufrière - Warten auf eine unausweichliche Katastrophe (2014)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
Critic Reviews for La Soufrière - Warten auf eine unausweichliche Katastrophe
Audience Reviews for La Soufrière - Warten auf eine unausweichliche Katastrophe
A volcano is about to blow. What do you do? If you're German, mad, and called Werner Herzog, you sneak around the army roadblocks and climb the volcano to film a documentary. He explores an abandoned town and speaks to some people who refuse to leave, and then...well, you'll just have to see it for yourself.
"The sea was full of dead snakes. They had crawled down during the night by the thousands from the mountain Soufriere and fled into the sea where they promptly drowned." Werner Herzog takes his documentary lens where most fear to tread, the island of Guadeloupe where a seemingly inevitable volcanic eruption has turned a once bustling city into a ghost town. Herzog shows little fear (and common sense) as he scopes out the island and it's very few remaining inhabitants. Intriguing real-life drama that, through no fault of the film makers, is happily anticlimactic.
Herzog and two cameraman buddies arrived on the French Carribbean island of Guadeloupe just days after most residents had evacuated the area around the island's active volcano, La Soufriere ("the Sulphur Mine"). As the mountain issues noxious smoke from underground vents, it seems clear that it'll blow its top at any minute. Grey VOG blankets the sky, casting a pall of doom over an abandoned town. A perfect place to capture dozens of unnerving, dreamlike images of empty streets, abandoned vestiges of civilization. No other director seems more compelled toward apocalyptic nature imagery, reminders of mankind's helplessness before primal order, etc. One photograph of the aftermath of a previous eruption in 1902 is so unreal that Herzog must interject: "This is not a painting." Naturally, Werner and his two-man crew are insane enough to sneak around the military roadblocks and venture to the hellishly steaming caldera some 4500 feet up. Lots of poetic, slow moving imagery of the subterranean gases spreading, lush mountain slopes rent by deep cracks spewing brimstone (what better visual backing for the Wagner and Verdi on the soundtrack?). The Holy Grail of the caldera itself remains unattainable, after the crew is stymied by lethal clouds of sulfur fumes. There's a great shot of Herzog casually strolling down a dirt road, laughing while pointing at the deadly smog that's about 30 feet away. Meanwhile, the assistant cameraman is hauling ass in a car in the opposite direction. When they continue their journey the following day, the mountain still hasn't blown. A small community of homeless men is discovered. These vagrants have nowhere to go, so they can only wait for their deaths. Some have made peace with the "fact" of impending doom (what better way to illustrate the specter of death than with that spooky volcano?), thus here is where we find the moral center of this unusually potent 30 minute short. Some may not appreciate the strange resolution, a few minutes after this sequence, but it works very well to support the death metaphor. The subtitle of the film, "Waiting for an Inevitable Disaster", has a nice double meaning that doesn't hit you till the end. Nature docs about fuzzy creatures and such just don't pack the same punch as many of Herzog's works, which are also satisfying on an anthropological level. See it for free, online (with some serious audio lag, but that's only a problem in a couple of scenes): http://tinyurl.com/soufriere Enjoy!
Discuss La Soufrière - Warten auf eine unausweichliche Katastrophe on our Movie forum!