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also known as Land des Schweigens und der Dunkelheit

Land of Silence and Darkness1971

  • 4.3
Werner Herzog has become as famous for his distinctive non-fiction films as for his dramatic portraits of obsessives, outcasts and madmen. It all began with LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS, a poetic study of Fini Straubinger, a fifty-six year old woman who went deaf and blind as a teenager and is now an advocate for others similarly afflicted in Germany. The 1971 film was his first feature documentary and, in true Herzog fashion, he uses image and sound to introduce us to the lives of people who cannot see or hear. As we observe members of this singular community take in a day at the zoo or experience an airline flight for the first time, Herzog shows us a gamut of experiences, from the isolation of the most extreme cases to those like Fini determined to commune with the world around them. It is the agony and the ecstasy of an existence experienced almost solely by touch and human contact. - Sean Axmaker

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Member Reviews (6)

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top reviewer


really uplifting and interesting, not the downer Herzog we love and anticipate, but a fresh young Herzog carefully portraying the humanity of his subjects. Really compelling watch and actually very sweet and heartwrenching at moments.

Very powerful, yet peaceful. Fini Straubinger is an inspiration to us all.

so thankful to have this exposure to the lives of the deaf/blind. a poetic and beautiful film. Fini Straubinger is a beautiful and strong woman, so understanding and generous. A wonderful subject, Herzog uses his vision and tools to have us consider something we rarely get exposed to, and to consider it deeply.

Fascinating and insightful.

insightful and tragic.