Werner Herzog‘s first narrative feature in quite some time will finally be arriving this fall, following a premiere at Berlin this year. Queen of the Desert tracks the story of legendary cartographer Gertrude Bell, a diplomatic explorer, who negotiated with Arab nations and helped establish the countries of Iraq and Jordan. Led by Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, James Franco, and Damian Lewis, the first trailer has now arrived.
We said in our review from Berlin, From his very first feature, 1968’s Signs of Life, Werner Herzog has demonstrated a predilection for stories revolving around exceptionally zealous and uncompromising – if not outright maniacal – individuals. These individuals, thus far, have always been men. It’s therefore somewhat disappointing that the protagonist of Queen of the Desert, the first woman to be granted center stage in one of Herzog’s narrative features, is possibly the most conventionally drawn character in his oeuvre – a criticism that can be extended to the film as a whole.” Check out the trailer and poster below:
The film tells the story of Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) who, as historian, novelist and member of the British secret service, played a decisive role around 1920 in setting the course for the new political order in the Middle East. As an educated young woman, for whom no suitable husband can be found in England, she journeys to Tehran. After a tragic love affair with diplomat and inveterate gambler Henry Cadogan, she decides to give up on her private life and discover the region as an explorer. Before the backdrop of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire she learns languages, translates literature, meets with Muslim dignitaries in Cairo, Basra and Baghdad and earns their trust through her pluck and respect. Predestined to be a mediator between the Orient and the British Empire, she contributes to defining the new borders in the region after the First World War. And then love enters her life once again.
Werner Herzog uses the vast desert landscapes to depict the architecture of his characters’ souls. A panoramic epic about the woman who has gone down in history as ‘the female Lawrence of Arabia’.
Atlas Distribution Co. will release Queen of the Desert in late September.