Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Werner Herzog - "The White Diamond"

Another fine and rather eccentric little film by Herzog, this 2004 documentary centers around the British researcher/dreamer Dr. Graham Dorrington, and his life-long obsession with flying. Here, Herzog accompanies Dorrington to the remote jungles of Guyana to test a new form of flying machine - a very small helium-driven airship that owes much to the great zeppelins of the early part of the 20th century. It seems, for the most part, to be a success, though time is devoted to looking back at the death of one of Dorrington's colleagues in a past (failed) attempt at flight. One of the native Rasta crew members, a likeable fellow named Marc Anthony Yhap, is also befriended and his dreams (of re-joining his family in Europe) are touched upon, though never realized (at least in this film). Marc's steadfast friendship with his rooster is also a highlight, painting a picture of a lonely man in a remote area of the world, doing his best to live and love the majestic world around him, but never quite becoming one with it.
Much like the much-publicized 'Grizzly Man' (also directed by Herzog), this is a very individual portrait of a person (Donnington) that most would call a bit 'crazy', but with a passion that is at once beautiful and touching. As with all of Herzog's films (at least the few I've seen), the cinematography is gorgeous (but then again, that goes along with the rich and pristine landscapes of Guyana). Superb film, and downright unforgettable. Werner Herzog

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