A rare example of Herzog tackling the “ethnographic” corner of the documentary genre, with wonderfully mystical results! Herdsmen of the Sun tells of the Wodaabe tribe, a nomadic African community (self-described as “the most beautiful people on earth”) who annually practices a festival called Gerewol, in which females choose their mates from a lineup of super-elaborately adorned men with wild makeup, feathers and kaleidoscopic robes draping their seven-foot frames. Starting with the first scene, Herzog accentuates the ethereal nature of this rite further by layering early 20th-century recordings of opera on the soundtrack; the film’s dreamlike depiction of a foreign people, very much at odds with the purist cinema vérité tradition of ethnography without adornment, is the embodiment of Herzog’s own “Minnesota Declaration”: that through “imagination and stylization”, there can be such a thing as a poetic, ecstatic truth. Riverting, singular and totally heartfelt.
These are the stone sculptures of Maurizio Becherini (1859-1932). In 1918, Becherini decided to isolate himself and live like a hermit in the forest of Forra, near his native village of Gambassi. While living there, he sculpts the stones of his surroundings, he embellishes his sleeping cave with statues; some self-made, some acquired. After his death, some of his work was stolen, while others were damaged by nature; by roaring weather and the unforgiving forest. Today, only a few traces remain, which are all destined to disappear. I don’t think Becherini would have wanted it any other way.
Balinese ritual dance manifestation. The demonic figure is known as Rangda; the evil queen, the child-eater, the leader of the witches, which battle against the forces of goodness, called Barong. Exploring a fundamentally archetypal mythological and religo-cultural concept, the Barong dance represent this ancient mythological struggle between the forces of good and evil.