Bengaluru International Film Festival - BIFFES

Synopsis

It is a 1977 West German documentary film in which German director Werner Herzog visits an island on which a volcano is predicted to erupt. The pretext of this film was provided when Herzog "heard about the impending volcanic eruption, that the island of Guadeloupe had been evacuated and that one peasant had refused to leave, [he] knew [he] wanted to go talk to him and find out what kind of relationship towards death he had" (Cronin). Herzog explores the deserted streets of the towns on the island. The crew of three treks up to the caldera, where clouds of sulfurous steam and smoke shift drift like "harbingers of death" (Peucker), an example of the sublime Herzog seeks to conjure in his films. Herzog converses in French with three different men he finds remaining on the island: one says he is waiting for death, and demonstrates his posture for doing so; another says he has stayed to look after the animals. In the end, the volcano did not erupt, thus sparing the lives of those who had remained on the island, including Herzog and his crew.