Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1977, the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe was faced with seemingly unavoidable destruction when La Soufriere, a large and active volcano on the island, came to life and was expected to explode. Guadeloupe was quickly evacuated, but one man, an elderly hermit, refused to leave his tiny campsite near the volcano, and authorities were forced to leave him behind. When filmmaker Werner Herzog heard about the lone man who stayed behind, he was instantly fascinated with his story, and quickly assembled a small camera crew to journey to Guadeloupe and get his story before the volcano destroyed the island. As it happened, Herzog and his crew discovered that three penniless men were left behind, and in La Soufriere he talks to these last citizens of Guadeloupe as they share their thoughts about their lives and their likely death. Herzog and his cameramen also include eerie footage of the abandoned city near the volcano, the dangerous beauty of the volcano itself, and the true story of a disaster which befell the island in 1902. Ironically, for all the scientific evidence of the oncoming disaster and precautions that were taken, La Soufriere failed to erupt, leading Herzog to describe the experience as "an inevitable catastrophe that didn't take place."
evacuation, island, prediction, resistance, volcano