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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
Without dreams we would be cows in a field, and I don't want to live like that. I live my life or I end my life with this project.
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I saw this enjoyable documentary film in 1983 and have recently seen it again (2001) at the National Film Theatre in London, together with "Fitzcarraldo" and "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" - sore bum!
In 1983 I thought it was brilliant and it was immensely valuable to get an insight into the tortured making of the film "Fitzcarraldo". Seeing it again, almost two decades later, I feel the film skims the surface as Les Blank seems to have little interest in drawing out what went on. He just observes and accepts the events at face value. Only Herzog is interviewed at any length and the burden of his dream(s) does become apparent as the film progresses, however there is virtually no comment from Kinski or the other actors. Les Blank might argue that the film is about Herzog's state of mind and his attitude to the production of Fitzcarraldo. In this, I think it is largely a success. To look for more from the film is perhaps to unfairly employ the benefit of hindsight.
I suspect my disappointment (relative) at seeing this again is the release of "My Best Fiend" in the interim. I find my memory conflating the two films, the piece about Kinski's "hate hate" relationship with the jungle (and almost everything else!) would seem more appropriate to "Burdens" but is in "Fiend".
"Burden of Dreams" and "My Best Fiend" would make a good double bill, giving a much more rounded impression of the context of the production of Fitzcarraldo and the relationship between Herzog and Kinski. If you are interested, try to see them both.
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