Aguirre, the Wrath of God
"My dearest enemy" was how Herzog called Klaus Kinski, the actor with the weather-beaten face and the sparkling, diabolical eyes. Kinski hated directors, so working with him was challenging to say the least. Herzog, who made five films with Kinski, once even threatened to shoot him should he continue to refuse to cooperate. Nevertheless, those five films are seen as highlights in the work of both men. Aguirre was their first joint project.
It is 1560 when a Spanish expedition departs from Peru in search of El Dorado, the legendary country of gold. The arduous journey through the virtually inaccessible rainforest turns into a true nightmare when the insane and manipulative power-hungry Aguirre takes over command. The heat, a lack of supplies, diseases, and fear take their toll, and one by one the members of the expedition die. Kinski gives a terrifying impassioned performance of the deranged Aguirre. The soundtrack is by the German cult band Popol Vuh, with which Herzog later would often collaborate.