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Movie Review: Lessons of Darkness (Herzog, 1992)

Iraq after the Gulf War as an alien hellscape. The environment at once dying and violent, torn apart by an apocalypse. Minuscule human figures dwarfed by the forces they’ve unleashed. Savagery recounted in devastatingly human terms. Herzog’s voice is perfect for the sparse narration – he could lend gravity to a hamburger (and he does, here). The full extent of war’s cruelty towards man and nature is captured without sensationalism. I’ve seen and heard these things elsewhere, but mired in politics and without this detached directness. By freeing these images of their usual context, Herzog has found in them a deeper fascination and more profound sadness.


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