This week, history is woven by a mother in Zerkalo [The Mirror] by Andrei Tarkovsky, she passes on the spell of heredity in Paix sur les champs by Jacques Boigelot, and a man becomes possessed by the history he deliriously pyrsues in Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, Zorn Gottes.
Zerkalo is a story of childhood that is intertwined with a collective history. For Tarkovsky, the mother is a figure that is strongly linked to time and history. The filmmaker himself stated: “The Mirror is not a casual title. The storyteller perceives his wife as the continuation of his mother, because wives resemble mothers, and errors repeat themselves – a strange reflection. Repetition is a law, experience does not get transmitted, everyone has to live it.”
The inheritance of spirit is the premise of Boigelot’s Paix sur les champs. In this film, a woman is the bearer of powers which make ‘errors repeat themselves’, but she’s capable to transcend them as well. In the Belgian countryside, the grandson of a presumed witch will find out how much his rural community still believes in the peril of his lineage when he falls in love with the sister of a girl who supposedly died under his grandmother’s influence.
Set during the expansion of the Spanish Empire in South America, the protagonist of Herzog’s film, Don Lope de Aguirre or ‘the Wrath of God’ as he calls himself, is a child of his times. Just like the Congo River in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the Amazon leads him and his band further and further into the phantasm of colonialism. Accompanied by the hypnotic soundtrack by Popol Vuh, Aguirre dreams of becoming the founding father of an empire.