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Bells From The Deep

Germany, 1993 (MIFF 2001, Burden of Dreams – Werner Herzog)

Director: Werner Herzog

Near the border between Russia and Mongolia, the nomadic Yulas tribe attempts to reach an altered state of consciousness by making strange, deep, frog-like croaks. Elderly people living by Lake Kitesh believe an enchanted city of angels exists beneath the frozen surface. In the dead of winter they crawl on all fours out onto dangerously thin ice in sub-zero temperatures, hoping to catch a glimpse of the wondrous domain. A self-proclaimed 'Grand Sorcerer of Russia' attempts the mass exorcism of a dozen high-spirited, 'possessed' women on a high school gymnasium stage, but it could just be the vodka talking.

Lighter in tone that most of his work, Herzog's Bells From The Deep is aptly subtitled, Faith And Superstition In Russia With the disintegration of the former Soviet empire, political and social upheaval, the population was ripe for a return to archaic forms of worship and a resurgence of faith in outlandish customs and beliefs. A humorous work with more sober undertones.

See also...

La Soufrière

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Gasherbrum: The Dark Glow of the Mountains

Before Reinhold Messner's name inspired a Ben Folds Five album title he was known principally as a fearless, and possibly reckless, mountaineer who had lost a brother and six toes in his endeavours ... More »

How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck?

In one of his most well known documentaries Herzog contrasts the contestants in the 1976 Cattle Auctioning World Championships with the Amish community in which the event is held. The ironic ... More »

Lessons of Darkness

First screened to rapt audiences at MIFF 1993, Lessons Of Darkness is Herzog's meditation on the apocalyptic aftermath of the Guff War. Tragedy and beauty are blended in aerial photography that ... More »

Huie’s Sermon

Werner Herzog claims to have had a divine vision as a child, which may partially explain his fascination with mysticism and preachers. Huie's Sermon was shot in the US while Herzog was preparing to ... More »

God’s Angry Man

A vivid account of Werner Herzog's meeting with Californian late-night television evangelist Dr Gene Scott. Scott fleeced fundamentalists to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year ... More »

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