January 03, 2010
In 1970 German director Werner Herzog selected the edit version of "Ghetto Raga" for the soundtrack of his film "Fata Morgana" ("Mirage"), distributed in 1971.
Among tracks of Leonard Cohen ("Suzanne", "So long Marianne", "Hey, that's no way to say goodbye"), W. A. Mozart ("Kronungsmesse-Kyrie") and F. Couperin ("Lecons des Ténèbres - 12a Lecon"), he included a 9.10 reduced version of "Ghetto Raga" from "Alchemy" (1969) to comment on the first part titled "The Creation".
In Werner Herzog words, the film (79 minutes) is "a science-fiction elegy of dead or demented colonialism in the Sahara". Much of the footage consists of filmed mirages and the sequences with TEB music are impressive shots of the Sahara desert.
The director started to shoot on November 1968 in Kenya and Tanzania. Then he worked in Algerian Sahara, Nigeria, Mali and Ivory Coast (May-September 1969) to finish on December 1969 in Lanzarote (Canarian Isles).
"Fata Morgana" (divided in three parts: "The Creation", "The Heaven" and "The Golden Age") is a compelling, beautiful and baffling film, blurring the line between fiction and fact in a manner which became characteristic of its director Werner Herzog.
It’s a documentary of sorts about the Sahara desert and its mirages, as well as the people who live in the area. He produced a quite unique combination of fable, imagery and social commentary which has a cumulatively hypnotic effect...
(to be continued)
no©2010 Luca Ferrari
Edited by Luca Chino Ferrari