The term which has become this film's title, Fata Morgana, refers to mirages, and is an apt title for this storyless, hallucinatory work shot in the deserts of North Africa. It is a rhythmic, musical succession of images and short scenes. One of the images is a pianist and drummer who play tiredly, surrounded by endless tracts of desert.
This is an image that has been adapted and re-used in countless music videos and is a small piece of evidence suggesting that this is a very influential film. The narration, in English, comes from a Guatemalan creation myth, and the accompanying music ranges from Couperin to Cash, with significant contributions by Leonard Cohen.
Fata Morgana is one of the early features by the renowned director Werner Herzog, better known for Aguirre, Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo. As is the case for many of Herzog's films, he paid a high price in physical pain to shoot this one; he was arrested and tortured by an African government in the mistaken belief that he was a mercenary soldier.