Werner Herzog, Lessons of Darkness, 1992 (still); image: © Werner Herzog Film


Lessons of Darkness with La Soufrière

Sunday, Feb 12, 2017

7:30 p.m.

Werner Herzog, La Soufrière, 1977 (still); image: © Werner Herzog Film

“Mr. Herzog uses his gift for eloquent abstraction to create sobering, obscenely beautiful images of a natural world that has run amok…. Spookiest of all, within this film’s context of exquisite pessimism, is the semblance of a sunny ending.” — Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Film Details

Lessons of Darkness
Country: France
Languages: German, English
Year: 1992
Running time: 52 min
Format: 35mm

Director: Werner Herzog

Producer: Lucki Stipetic

Cinematographer: Paul Berriff

Editor: Rainer Standke
Print Source: Werner Herzog Filmproduktion

La Soufrière
Country: Germany
Languages: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian
Year: 1977
Running time: 31 min
Format: DCP

Director: Werner Herzog

Producer: Werner Herzog
Cinematographer: Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein
Editor: Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus

Print Source: Werner Herzog Filmproduktion

Films and schedules may be subject to change.

Modern Cinema’s Founding Supporters are Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein. Generous support is provided by Nion T. McEvoy and the Susan Wildberg Morgenstein Fund. Additional support is provided by Becky Draper.

In the Kuwaiti oilfields in the aftermath of the Gulf War, Werner Herzog finds an apocalyptic locale for the haunting Lessons of Darkness. Shooting just a week before the last oil fire was put out, Herzog captures, with characteristically surreal images, the grotesque beauty of a desert storm of fire, smoke, and spewing oil brought on by war’s destruction. Utilizing aerial photography and music from such composers as Mahler, Prokofiev and Wagner, Herzog takes us on a mesmerizing tour of “Satan’s National Park.”

Lessons of Darkness screens with La Soufrière, in which Werner Herzog takes a film crew to the island of Guadeloupe when he hears that the volcano on the island is going to erupt. Everyone has left, except for one old man who refuses to depart.