Spatiality in Aguirre, The Wrath of God

My recent interest in exploring the frontier as a theoretical framework in media resulted in an essay about representations of frontier advancement in two films about the Conquest of South America: The Mission and Aguirre, The Wrath of God. It is quite extensive right now and I have been struggling to extract standalone pieces from, but I feel that this video essay I edited does a fairly decent job at summing up the arguments of my chapter about Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, The Wrath of God.

Here I focus specifically on the tension between settler and unsettled space that is evident in the film. Plenty has been written about Herzog’s use of landscape in his work (he has also spoken a lot about it), but in the case of my research it was interesting to find how it resonated with arguments made by historians about the physical challenges of the Conquest.

I might add this entire research left me feeling very disappointed in how schools largely manage to make the Conquest so boring for students. I can’t think of a more fascinating subject to learn history about.
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