Burden of Dreams ()

Reference View | Change View

A documentary following German auteur Werner Herzog as he deals with difficult actors, bad weather and getting a boat over a mountain, all in an effort to make his film Fitzcarraldo (1982).


Photos and Videos

Cast verified as complete

Fitzcarraldo / Self
Molly / Self
Alfredo De Rio Tambo ...
Self (as Alfredo de Rio Tambo)
Ángela Reina ...
Self (as Angela Reine)
Carmen Correa ...
Elia De Rio Ene ...
Self (as Elia de Rio Ene)
David Pérez Espinosa ...
Self (as David Perez Espinosa)
Self (as Miguel Angel Fuentes)
Mariano Gagnon ...
Self (as Father Mariano Gagnon)
Paul Hittscher ...
Huerequeque Enrique Bohorquez ...
Self (as Huerequeque Bohoroquez)
Evaristo Nunkuag Ikanan ...
Laplace Martins ...
Nelson De Rio Cenepa ...
Self (as Nelson de Rio Cenepa)
Jorge Vignati ...
Candace Laughlin ...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Beat Presser ...
Self (uncredited)

Directed by

Les Blank

Written by

Michael Goodwin ... (narration)

Produced by

Les Blank ... producer
Kathy Kline ... coordinating producer
David R. Loxton ... executive producer
José Koechlin von Stein ... co-producer

Cinematography by

Les Blank ... (photographed by)

Film Editing by

Maureen Gosling

Editorial Department

Joe Orr ... negative cutter
Chris Simon ... assistant editor
Andrea Sohn ... assistant editor

Sound Department

Mark Berger ... re-recording
Michael Goodwin ... assistant sound
Maureen Gosling ... sound recordist

Camera and Electrical Department

Patricia Buchanan ... title photographer
Michael Goodwin ... assistant camera
Pacho Lane ... camera assistant (as Bruce 'Pacho' Lane)

Additional Crew

Richard Becker ... translator
Andy Freeberg ... photos/artwork
Michael Goodwin ... interviewer
Volker Hinz ... photos/artwork
Pacho Lane ... interpreter (as Bruce 'Pacho' Lane) / interviewer (as Bruce 'Pacho' Lane)
John Lumsdaine ... researcher
Christian Piper ... photos/artwork
Inez Reider ... translator
Sarah Satterlee ... title typography
Chris Simon ... office manager / researcher
Andrea Sohn ... office manager
Juan Manuel Ugarte ... murals: Iquitos Airport
Francisca Wentworth ... translator


Walter Saxer ... grateful acknowledgment
Lucki Stipetic ... grateful acknowledgment
Crew believed to be complete

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot 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

Plot Keywords
Parents Guide Add content advisory for parents »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Düşlerin Ağırlığı (Turkey, Turkish title)
  • Un montón de sueños (Argentina)
  • Unelmien taakka (Finland)
  • Die Last der Träume (West Germany)
  • Brzemię snu (Poland)
  • See more »
  • 95 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Did You Know?

Trivia 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 Werner 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 »
Movie Connections Featured in Firefox/A Week's Vacation/Burden of Dreams/Author! Author! (1982). See more »
Quotes Werner Herzog: [On the jungle] Kinski always says it's full of erotic elements. I don't see it so much erotic. I see it more full of obscenity. It's just - Nature here is vile and base. I wouldn't see anything erotical here. I would see fornication and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival and... growing and... just rotting away. Of course, there's a lot of misery. But it is the same misery that is all around us. The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I don't think they - they sing. They just screech in pain. It's an unfinished country. It's still prehistorical. The only thing that is lacking is - is the dinosaurs here. It's like a curse weighing on an entire landscape. And whoever... goes too deep into this has his share of this curse. So we are cursed with what we are doing here. It's a land that God, if he exists has - has created in anger. It's the only land where - where creation is unfinished yet. Taking a close look at - at what's around us there - there is some sort of a harmony. It is the harmony of... overwhelming and collective murder. And we in comparison to the articulate vileness and baseness and obscenity of all this jungle - Uh, we in comparison to that enormous articulation - we only sound and look like badly pronounced and half-finished sentences out of a stupid suburban... novel... a cheap novel. We have to become humble in front of this overwhelming misery and overwhelming fornication... overwhelming growth and overwhelming lack of order. Even the - the stars up here in the - in the sky look like a mess. There is no harmony in the universe. We have to get acquainted to this idea that there is no real harmony as we have conceived it. But when I say this, I say this all full of admiration for the jungle. It is not that I hate it, I love it. I love it very much. But I love it against my better judgment.
See more »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed