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709 Ratings

Land of Silence and Darkness

Land des Schweigens und der Dunkelheit

Directed by Werner Herzog
West Germany, 1971


A portrait of 56-year-old Fini Straubinger, who has been blind and deaf since she was young. Moving and intense, Land of Silence and Darkness is widely considered one of Werner Herzog’s greatest documentaries.

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Land of Silence and Darkness Directed by Werner Herzog
Given the spectacular nature of Herzog’s “embarrassed landscapes,” [the film] is unique for calling into question the very notion of spectacle and the embodied capacity to see, or hear, at all. It is of course part of a Herzogian perverse irony that his chosen tool—cinema as a catalyst of the communicable—is put in the service of an ineffable condition, a paradox that divisively figures in his, and this particular film’s, reception as either deeply humane or structurally exploitive.
June 17, 2014
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Sights and sounds are film’s instruments, yet to Werner Herzog the greatest beauty lurks within those deprived of them… Herzog’s is the cinema of the senses, the ecstasy of flight and of surging water breaking through all physical barriers, with the real-life heroine journeying through this astounding documentary with a sense of becalmed peace rarely allowed for the director’s fictional explorers.
June 01, 2006
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Watching and hearing Fini treat her patients is like watching Bob Ross paint. In both cases, their methods are mostly intuitive and you probably wouldn’t want to hang their final products on your wall, but it’s their becalmed craft that compels you, hypnotizes you.
July 17, 2005
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