Once more, the wellworn, reductive belief that good art cannot take a moral stand and must be 'enigmatic' or 'subversive' - may I add, in a way that established unconventional art conceives of the conventions of enigmatism and subversion =>
Reminiscent of the smug, too-easy belief that there is something simple-minded about taking a stand, about "sincerity" =>
The Eurocentric, privilege-centric arrogance of these beliefs.
Maybe my understanding of Herzog's discomfort with the "righteousness" (etym. right-wiseness) of the movie is colored by reactivity, a judgment against aesthetics in-fashion:
& yet there is nothing reducible about sincerity. Sincerity is necessarily, naturally, contrapuntal. Contextual. Always, already strange, particularly in periods typified by reified aesthetic gestures of irony, nihilism, and intellectualism.
Werner also, in the director's commentary, blames the abuse of alcohol and drugs among indigenous communities on indigenous folk being thrown into a civilization that is thousands of years "ahead" - not understanding (not caring? ignoring? forgetting?) that the "shock" the "primitive" people suffer from erupts not from being behind, but at finding themselves in a modernity that is so far behind: in empathy, mutuality, interconnectedness, participation, love.
Further appallment (I should have stuck with the movie) as I learn that Herzog had experimented with freezing ants to get them to stay still enough to get a certain shot.
Okay, yes. That is my righteous side coming out. Let me go examine my own failure of imagination.
(I just stumbled upon this theorizing tracking a new aesthetic, metamodernism. It seems quite simpatico, though I'll have to spend more time with the site.)