Land of Silence and Darkness
Director: Werner Herzog
West Germany / 1971 / 85 min
In German with English subtitles
After a childhood accident caused her an eventual loss of vision at 15 and hearing at 18, Fini Straubinger spent the next 30 years of life bedridden. But by age 56, when she became the subject of Herzog’s documentary feature, she had found her inner strength and purpose, drawing on her past experiences to help guide others with similar afflictions. The poignant, life-affirming film follows her on her missions while also providing insight into the alternate forms of communication used by the deaf and blind and the elemental joys they find in interactions with non-human forms of life like plants and animals, as well as the damages caused from such extreme isolation. Herzog considers Land of Silence and Darkness an essential piece in his oeuvre, saying “[It’s] a film particularly close to my heart. If I had not have made it there would be a great gap in my existence.” Restoration courtesy of Shout! Factory and the American Genre Film Archive.