Saturday, December 6, 2008

Where the Green Ants Dream

Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen; Drama, Germany/ Australia, 1984; D: Werner Herzog, S: Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Ray Barrett

Australia. Geologist Heckett works for a mining company that makes holes across the desert using explosives in order to search for Uranium. One old lady begs him to help her find a dog that got lost, but he explains her that his instruments can't register him. But, bigger problems occur: the Aborigines forbid the workers to dig around their holly land in which, according to their legend, green ants dream peacefully that could destroy the world if they wake up. The company buys them an airplane, but the tribe still refuses to give them land. In the end, the high court rules out that the Aborigines must be removed from the land.

After a few excellent films, the skill of the eccentric cult director Werner Herzog started to melt away, which is why his 1984 film "Where the Green Ants Dream" is in the end "just" a good achievement. Herzog went to almost every Continent in the world in his career, which is why his exotic decision to film "Ants" in Australia doesn't seem to strange, yet his hermetic style became worn out with time. Still, the ecologically awakened story about the invasion of bulldozers on the holly land of Aborigines isn't without humor (an aboriginal warns the worker that he must not step foot on the land where the green ants dream, upon which he replies with: "So why don't they dream somewhere else?"; the Aborigines meditate in a supermarket that was built on the location where their holly tree was standing) and contains a twisted charm, which is why the viewers might forgive it's obviously overstretched story and partial structure.


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