Tierra del Fuego
Description: Recalling Werner Herzog's Aguirre: The Wrath of God, acclaimed Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littin directs this sweeping epic about the true-life tale of Romanian engineer Julius Popper and his half-crazed pursuit of gold. Set in 1850, the handsome Romanian rides into a rough and tumble frontier town with his pockets full of gold. He uses his loot to round up dazzled prospectors and seduce hard-bitten brothel owner Armenia (Ornella Muti) into funding his expedition. The band sets off for the rugged South populated by half-naked indigenous people. Claiming the land for the Queen of Romania, Popper captures the Indians as slaves and forces them to mine for gold. They do find a scant amount of gold, which Popper promptly mints into coins bearing his likeness. Popper's second in command, a former Austrian sergeant named Novak (Nelson Villiagra), treats Indians with appalling savagery in the name of civilization, though he develops an odd respect for the tribe's beautiful, thoroughly-tattooed and frequently naked Queen Mennar (Tamara Acosta). As the rainy season sets in, the unpaid miners start to quietly talk of mutiny. Popper makes a bagpiper an example and forces him to play until he keels over. When this fails, Popper offers an ounce of gold for each Indian ear, breast, and testicle. This film was screened at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide
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