Shot under extreme conditions and inspired by Mayan creation theory, the film contemplates the illusion of reality and the possibility of capturing for the camera something which is not there. It is about the mirages of nature—and the nature of mirage.
For Werner Herzog, a documentary is an act of adventure, a search for truth beyond facts. This trek across Africa—during which Herzog and several of the crew were thrown in jail!—is a hallucinatory quest to find man’s spot in the universe, mixing pop songs and creation myths into a wonder.
My absolute favourite Herzog film. Colonialism's fever dream. The apogee of transcendent materialism! Such characters you meet; such sights. Pilgrims. Tableaux vivants. Buffalo as flat as the drawings on the walls in 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams'.
Herzog at his most abstract, making it something of an acquired taste, but a real gem. Through the primordial landscape, he evokes the awe of the creation of the earth, before finally arriving at how it's now a playground for tourists and film crews. At least, I think—all I can say for sure is that he's inspired by the cosmic, but much more ironic about man's place in it. So long, Marianne.
I'm surprised that I didn't get bored. Who knew staring out a car window for over an hour could be so interesting? I particularly like the first section with the creation myth narration. I might watch this again, actually.
Shot in southern Sahara. While off-screen voices tell us ancient myths about Creation and Paradise, we watch images of desolation. We hear a tale about Life and we see skeleton of animals and iron frameworks. Herzog calls FATA MORGANA a sci-fi movie since he explains its plot (!) as the description of a death planet by aliens. It's not at all evident for the viewer. Incantatory, hypnotic, highly recommended. Though.
I had to watch the film a second time to fully appreciate its spirtual dimension (and change my rating). Herzog created a unique transcultural mixture of improvised acting, narrated creation myth & pseudo folk-like tales, beautiful & gripping cinematography and pre-existing (sometimes sacred) music.
as slow and visual as "2001: A Space Odyssey"—and nearly half the length—but not as captivating. feels like an early, unpolished prototype to the Koyaanisqatsi family of films. unless you're a Herzog fanatic or Mayan mythologist, i suggest you skip this.