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German Cinema 101: Aguirre, the Wrath of God

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Landmark's West End Cinema

2301 M Street Northwest

Washington, DC 20037

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As a part of a year-long project "Wunderbar: A Celebration of German Film," the Goethe-Institut Washington has selected twelve iconic films that trace the richness of German film history. Together with Landmark's West End Cinema, we present German Cinema 101, a series that guides viewers through this history, paired with expert-led discussions.

Not able to make it to the cinema? No worries! You can also stream this film and 48 films in total at kanopy.com/goethe.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes)

An introduction to the film will be provided by Peter Rollberg, Professor of Slavic Languages, Film Studies, and International Affairs at The George Washington University. A discussion will follow the screening.

Written and directed by Werner Herzog.

Federal Republic of Germany, 1972, 90 min., in German, Quechua, and English with English subtitles.

Set during the “Age of Discovery,” a period marked by extensive world exploration and the formation of European colonial empires, Aguirre, the Wrath of God follows a group of Spanish conquistadores on an ill-fated journey deep into the Amazon rainforest. Led by the ambitious and conniving Don Lope de Aguirre, the group sets out in search of the fabled El Dorado, only to encounter disease, starvation, and betrayal. As Aguirre becomes increasingly determined to eliminate his compatriots and establish an empire of his own, his viciousness and rapid descent into insanity intensify. His journey becomes a race to beat the odds and assert his dominance over the resistant terrain — and his enemies — before everyone on board succumbs to the hostile landscape. Herzog’s imaginative film, inspired by true tales of disastrous Spanish expeditions in Latin America, calls into question concepts of civilization, morality, and humanity.

Werner Herzog was born in Munich on September 5, 1942. He grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria and studied History and German Literature in Munich and Pittsburgh. He made his first film in 1961 at the age of 19. Since then he has produced, written, and directed more than sixty feature- and documentary films, such as Aguirre der Zorn Gottes (AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD, 1972), Nosferatu Phantom der Nacht (NOSFERATU, 1978), FITZCARRALDO (1982), Lektionen in Finsternis (LESSONS OF DARKNESS, 1992), LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (1997), Mein liebster Feind (MY BEST FIEND, 1999), INVINCIBLE (2000), GRIZZLY MAN (2005), ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD (2007), Die Höhle der vergessenen Träume (CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, 2010). Werner Herzog has published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas. Werner Herzog lives in Munich and Los Angeles.


This event is part of the German Cinema 101 film series. German Cinema 101 is part of the project Wunderbar: A Celebration of German Film. From Beloved Sisters to A Coffee in Berlin and Young Goethe in Love, from The Blue Angel to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari — we are celebrating German-American friendship with our partner Kanopy by bringing 48 German films to your screens. Goethe-Instituts and Goethe Pop-Ups across the U.S. will take part in the celebration by showing films, organizing film festivals, and inviting German filmmakers to speak.

Are you currently enrolled in a German course at the Goethe-Institut Washington? If so, pick up your free ticket from the front desk today!

Photo © Werner Herzog Film GmbH

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Date and Time

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Landmark's West End Cinema

2301 M Street Northwest

Washington, DC 20037

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Refund Policy

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