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 ...
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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 »
During the 1800s, paroled Brazilian bandit Cobra Verde is sent to West Africa with a few troops to man an old Portuguese fort and to convince the local African ruler to resume the slave trade with Brazil.
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.
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 <email@example.com>
Throughout production, Les Blank and his small crew became exhausted and exasperated from the stress of the work. Blank said that he felt "unconnected" to the people around him. Keeping up with the antics of Herzog and Klaus Kinski proved difficult for the reserved, introverted Blank. By the last week of production, he was so burnt out that he feared coming out of production "like some Viet Nam veterans, horribly calloused". He wrote in his journal, "I'm tired of it all and I couldn't care less if they move the stupid ship - or finish the fucking film". See more »
And, therefore, since I can't prove a lover, to entertain this farewell spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Wilbur, you are definitely my man!
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"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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