The Temples of Bagan


Anyone who’s seen Werner Herzog’s The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) will recognise vistas of Bagan, Burma with their apparently endless plain of Buddhist temples and stupas. These appear near the end of the film in a startling moment when Herzog’s doomed protagonist is given a final vision on his deathbed, another instance of Herzog’s fantastic realism like the valley filled with thousands of windmills in Signs of Life. It’s dismaying to read that this region has been denied World Heritage status as a consequence of unsympathetic restoration work carried out by the wretches currently governing the place. It’s even more dismaying to read about that most useless of human creations, a golf course, being built in the area. May the storms of Burma be lightning-rich and eager for men waving metal poles.

There are plenty of photos of Bagan at Flickr, of course. This set showing departing balloons is particularly good.


Previously on { feuilleton }
Aguirre by Popol Vuh
Temples for Future Religions by François Garas
The temples of Angkor

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