It is easy to ignore how explosive my way of life is. Just as for them to misunderstand our suffocating level of (many times premature) optimizations. Despite many efforts to distinguish "evidence" from "hearsay," everybody's hope and livelihood had to & has to rely on a thin string of belief. We find meaning and feeling in life that seems to root in truth but really is no different from figment of our imaginations.
Not an easy film to analyze. For colonial cultures, natural resources exist to be monetized. For indigenous cultures, natural resources exist to be lived with harmoniously. The destruction of native languages and teachings means the ability to read weather and other natural phenomena (ex. via the green ants) is lost. Beautiful apocalyptic footage of tornadoes at beginning and end.
(4.5) A hidden gem from Herzog, and I personally have enjoyed as one of his better narrative films. He puts all of his documentary experience and visual eye to use here and tells a delightfully solemn and mystical tale. This should be put up as one of Herzog's best. It's plain and simple and elegantly shot.
I usually like Herzog film, but "WhereThe Green Ants Dream" I did not care for the film. I either have to care about the subject matter, the characters or the storyline. I did not care about any of the three, at the end of the film, I did not care that there was no resolution, one way or the other. The film just ended and that was that.
A careful and respectful approach to an ancient culture and its clash with modern Western civilization. Herzog has no answers and keeps distance, he doesn't pretend to understand the otherness or the feelings of the aborigines. So he uses precisely selected citations from classical music to create an associative emotional commentary.
An interesting aside for Herzog—you can sense him adjusting uneasily to English, and a lot of this would feel more at home in one of his documentaries. But just when you think you're in for a by-the-numbers PSA, he throws in strange, fascinating wrinkles about how human belief systems, western or indigenous, handle uncertainty with blind acceptance. And he gives his blank-slate hero a fine speech near the end.
More agency is attributed to non-white characters than one might've expected for 1984, but "Green Ants" still ascribes plenty of otherness to its subjects and wallows in self-deprecating white guilt. Herzog, who 'invented' the native characters and situations for the film, strays a little too close to reality if telling a good story was his only intention. Aesthetically gorgeous and zany as you'd expect from Werner.
We have to remember that Herzog has said that he does not understand irony. "For me a chair is a chair. A man is a man". This is a beautiful film, in the marvelous way it presents the clash of cultures. And the humour is up to us. Our own culture is free to interpret, to fill in the voids and laugh where it sees ridicule. And laugh of both sides. Culture needs a place. The most important part of the tile is "Where".
This film is really great, and has a lot of great moments, but totally falls apart with the epic failure courtroom scene at the end. The Aborigines and their mythology are compelling (actually, the myth about green ants' dreams is a hodgepodge of Aboriginal myths, not exactly an authentic myth, but similar).