Herzog's talent at producing wondrous and bizarre images is the saving grace of this overindulgent and at times roundabout 'fiction' film about a slave trader, played by Klaus Kinski - the 'story' is merely an excuse to unveil strange, dream-like sequences. Kinski, Herzog's long-time collaborator and nemesis, is compulsively watchable - even when staring off-camera you can't take your eyes off him, always waiting for him to explode - and acts as a guide through the meditative aspects of the movie. I always get the impression, however, that Herzog's commentaries for some of his films are better soundtracks for his films than Popul Vuh's spiritual ambience: his anecdotes on the making of the film are often more interesting than the stories presented on screen (the Anchor Bay DVD includes a director's track). It isn't as vital as either Fitzcarraldo or Aguirre, but unique enough to warrant a look.
Director: Werner Herzog
Year Released: 1987