I am a huge Werner Herzog fan. His early films filled me with a wonderful sense of what movies could do and so hooked me at a young age on the most powerful of all drugs, celluloid.
More than his fiction films I am a fan of Herzog's documentaries. There is something about the way he sees a subject that opens your eyes to things other than the subject at hand. Often his documentaries are almost something else, his Lessons in the Darkness about the oil well fires in Kuwait is structured as an aliens arrival on earth. Its a haunting film that is more magical and informative than the similar IMAX film Fires of Kuwait.
The White Diamond, is on the face of it the story of the building of an airship to study the canopy of the rain forests. It is also, as Werner Herzog tells it, the story of the search for absolution for the death of the inventors friend. I will certainly buy the first part, but I highly doubt the second.
This is simply one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. The shots of the balloon in flight, the waterfall, the birds that live by the falls and the life in the canopy make this the first time I ever wanted to own the biggest and best TV ever made just so I could see these images. I doubt that other than on a rare occasion you'll ever have seen anything as beautiful.
Herzog also introduces us to some real characters Dr Dorrington, the inventor of the airship is a man of great passion. Mark Anthony Yhap, a man hired to help porter materials is probably worthy a film himself. Also the rest of the crew are also intriguing characters for the brief period they cross the screen. It is the mix of people and image that make this film work as well as it does.
The trouble is that the film almost doesn't work. As a narrative the film is sloppy and unfocused. We are told about the cave behind the falls where the birds live and where no one has ever gone.We see a camera lowered down to a climber so footage inside the cave can be shot, only to be told we will not be shown the footage. It is only sometime later that we are told why, what is in the cave is a legend and to reveal whats there could up set the belief of the population. Its an odd way round the subject and feels completely backwards. The real trouble with the film is the way Herzog hammers away at Dorrington about the death of a friend some years earlier when a ship he had made got caught up in the trees. Dorrington was in no way responsible for the accident of the death (other than he built the ship that was involved) but Herzog trumpets the point over and over in order to give some dramatic tension to what appeared to be a pretty straight forward test flight of the airship. It adds a false note that almost sinks the film...from which it recovers from when ever we see the ship in flight or get away from the morbid subject.
Definitely worth seeing. Its a flawed masterpiece that's a must in High Definition or on a really good TV.
The White Diamond
Action / Documentary
The White Diamond
Action / Documentary
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About the daring adventure of exploring rain forest canopy with a novel flying device-the Jungle Airship. Airship engineer Dr. Graham Dorrington embarks on a trip to the giant Kaieteur Falls in the heart of Guyana, hoping to fly his helium-filled invention above the tree-tops. But this logistic effort will not be without risk. Twelve years ago, a similar expedition into the unique habitat of the canopy ended in disaster when Dorrington's friend Dieter Plage fell to his death. With the expedition is Werner Herzog, setting out now with a new prototype of the airship into the Lost World of the pristine rain forest of this little explored area of the world, to record and tell this unique story.
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