About the daring adventure of exploring rain forest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur ...
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In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »
About the daring adventure of exploring rain forest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur Falls in the heart of Guyana, hoping to fly his helium-filled invention above the tree-tops. But this logistic effort will not be without risk. Twelve years ago, a similar expedition into the unique habitat of the canopy ended in disaster when Dorrington's friend Dieter Plage fell to his death. With the expedition is Werner Herzog, setting out now with a new prototype of the airship into the Lost World of the pristine rain forest of this little explored area of the world, to record and tell this unique story.Written by
Marc Anthony Yhap:
It's beautiful up there. Flying around. I should've had my rooster here with me for the world to see. His name is Red. He has five wives, five hens. So, I get five eggs every morning. Yeah, my rooster's good.
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Once again, the most adventurous documentary film maker of our time returns to his most beloved subjects and his most beloved setting. The White Diamond is about an obsessed man who wants to conquer a relatively unexplored frontier in the South American rain forest. Yet this is no sequel or remake of the amazing Herzog film Aguirre. Rather, in The White Diamond, Herzog returns to his beloved rain forest to tell the story of Dr. Graham Dorrington's struggle to build and fly an ultra-light helium airship as a way to explore the resources and ecology of the South American rain forest canopy.
Unlike many of Herzog's recent films, The White Diamond has an irrepressibly upbeat tone, as Herzog seems - as he can seemingly only do in South America - to celebrate the simultaneous absurdity and brilliance of the human spirit. Like Little Dieter, Fitzcarraldo, Rescue Dawn and Kaspar Hauser, The White Diamond is about remarkable people who do remarkable things. And like almost all of Herzog's portfolio, the photography and soundtrack are magnificent.
Herzog appears quite often in this film, and, as he has done frequently in recent times, gives us a bit more of a view of his interior world. Unlike Grizzly Man, however, this is not the dark, constrained hostility of the great director's view of life, but rather the hopeful Herzog who is interested in what makes people tick. And, unlike many of his films, he seems to like what he sees this time.
The White Diamond occasionally tangentializes away from the main story to talk to us about things that inspire the local inhabitants of the rain forest where the story takes place. A mysterious cave is explored, but the mystery is preserved in deference to the wishes of a local tribe. The poet philosopher of Dorrington's team is a local Rastafarian herbalist who finds tranquility and joy in everything, but whose rooster is his major inspiration. And then there are Herzog and Dorrington themselves, who are a whole different story. Some of Dorrington's incessant commentary can be a little annoying, but I believe Herzog left it in the film to give us a clear sense of the man himself - for which I can not fault the director.
Literally and spiritually uplifting, The White Diamond is a truly lovely film which uses setting and story to create a lasting impression. Like most of Herzog's films, it bears intense, wide-awake, and repeated scrutiny, and is worth thinking about afterward.
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