A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively ... See full summary »
In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »
The feared bandit Cobra Verde (Klaus Kinski) is hired by a plantation owner to supervise his slaves. After the owner suspects Cobra Verde of consorting with his young daughters, the owner ... See full summary »
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David Lee Hoffman,
German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as an American naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Vietcong, recreating many events for the camera.
Herzog takes a film crew to the island of Guadeloupe when he hears that the volcano on the island is going to erupt. Everyone has left, except for one old man who refuses to leave. Herzog ... See full summary »
Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.
"Chulas Fronteras" is a documentary about the music of the Mexican community on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border, particularly of migrant farmers. It includes material about the roots ... See full summary »
Los Alegres De Teran,
A look at the spirit of New Orleans. First a funeral: Allen Toussaint explains that you arrive slow and cut up afterwards. Then it's food, with a lesson in eating crayfish at Frankie and ... See full summary »
A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively driven director. Not only does he have major casting problems, losing both Jason Robards (health) and Mick Jagger (other commitments) halfway through shooting, but the crew gets caught up in a war between Peru and Ecuador, there are problems with the weather and the morale of cast and crew is falling rapidly. Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Fitzcarraldo" is to my measure a special film, meaning that it evokes in me a profound and lasting response. Indeed, I have it on my list of films you really must see (if you take me seriously). Elsewhere, I have celebrated this filmmaker, and how the twists in his being seem to (at least in this period) have created work that matters.
This is a documentary on the making of that film. Its made by a good filmmaker himself. It tells the tale, an interesting story. And it features two segments of Herzog on the scene, speaking coherently and somewhat poetically of the disruption that is the jungle. Its disturbing in its own right.
So what's wrong? Something significant, I think. Watching this takes much of the richness, the lush smell, out of "Fitz."
It explains it. It flattens it. It surrounds it with a story that is clear and thus takes away the space it naturally has for us to surround it with our own story.
Not all great art works this way, but some apparently does: it designates holes that we readily fill with ourselves and stitch together with the story our life might have been, or might not have. The design of "Fitz" is such that it contrasts the real (meaning "natural") with the stylized (meaning "civilized"). It has a simple spine that we can read and ignore while we understand instead the invisible lace of inner lust, lonely desire.
We need the space that surrounds it. We need the madness, the jungle, the lack of containing story. Its what we fill in with the jumble of our own jungles.
Seeing this takes away the experience of "Fitz." Its not just another case of an encounter with a filmmaker being less rewarding than an encounter with his (her) film. Its a matter of story walls where there shouldn't be.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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