Where the Green Ants Dream (1984)

Where the Green Ants Dream (1984)

“We mustn’t disturb the dreaming of the green ants; we mustn’t talk the green ants up.”

When an Australian mining company tries to conduct geological tests on sacred land, Aborigines stage a protest, and their struggle soon goes to court.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Australian Films
  • Mining Towns
  • Native Peoples
  • Race Relations and Racism
  • Werner Herzog Films

Iconoclastic German director Werner Herzog remains somewhat unique in his lifelong commitment to making both narrative and documentary films — with significant overlap between the two. Indeed, Where the Green Ants Dream is a classic example of Herzog’s refusal to draw a fine line between fiction and reality, with the titular Aboriginal “myth” created out of whole cloth by Herzog himself. Unfortunately, Green Ants’ title remains the most creative thing about it: the screenplay is stilted and overly sincere, the acting is fairly awful, and, despite its compelling subject matter, the movie as a whole fails to engage. This one is only for true Herzog fans.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Striking imagery of Australian Aborigines refusing to deviate from their long-held beliefs
  • Many typically Herzog-ian panning shots of vast landscapes

Must See?
No. As one of Herzog’s more self-indulgent films, this will likely only be of interest to true fans of his work. Listed as a Sleeper and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Where the Green Ants Dream (1984)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    What makes this a frustrating viewing experience – almost throughout – is Herzog’s seeming inability to make his point. As well, cohesion is wanting.

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