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Wodaabe: Herdsmen of the Sun by Werner Herzog

Wodaabe: Herdsmen of the Sun

by Werner Herzog

Title Details

Running Time
48 Min.


Herdsmen of the Sun is a 1989 documentary film by Werner Herzog. The film explores the social rituals and cultural celebrations of the Saharan nomadic Wodaabe tribe. Particular focus is given to the Gerewol celebration, which features an elaborate male beauty contest to win wives.

Although the film may be considered to be ethnographic, Herzog commented that: "[My films] are anthropological only in as much as they try to explore the human condition at this particular time on this planet. I do not make films using images only of clouds and trees, I work with human beings because the way they function in different cultural groups interests me. If that makes me an anthropologist then so be it." The opening shots of the film depicts a celebration of male beauty, showing males dancing in elaborate costume, accentuating their height and whites of their eyes and teeth to attract females, as we hear "Ave Maria" in the background (a 1901 recording made by the last castrato of the Vatican).

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