Movie Review: Queen of the Desert by Werner Herzog

Combining the cinematic extravaganza of Werner Herzog with the history of a truly inspiring woman should have resulted in an epic and inspirational film.  Gertrude Bell was an amazing woman who was crucial in establishing an archaeological context for the Middle East, founding the Iraqi Archaeological Museum, and as well as being an important figure behind the construction of the Middle East (see the links below to learn more).  So, obviously, the movie focused on the most interesting aspects of her life, right?  Not quite.  Herzog created a cinematically lovely film, but completely missed the mark by focusing on Bell’s romantic relationships.  And, those relationships were poorly represented.  I found myself fast-forwarding through portions of the movie, which does not bode well for the rest of the film.  Unfortunately, Herzog took a strong female heroine and reduced her and her actions as responses to unrequited love with relatively boring individuals.  The movie felt bland and stilted. If one must focus on relationships, why not combine the romance, adventure, and her many accomplishments? Or, how about just her exciting adventures?  I would watch ‘Gertrude of Arabia’ in a heartbeat.  I hope another director tries to showcase the fascinating life of Gertrude Bell!

Links:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00xhh2q

https://trowelblazers.com/gertrude-bell-awesome-in-arabia/

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/queen_of_the_desert/

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