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 »
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.
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 »
German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as a U.S. naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Viet Cong, recreating many events for the camera.
Fitzcarraldo is an obsessed opera lover who wants to build an opera in the jungle. To accomplish this he first has to make a fortune in the rubber business, and his cunning plan involves hauling an enormous river boat across a small mountain with aid from the local Indians.Written by
Rune Sandnes <email@example.com>
After a Peruvian logger was bitten by a deadly snake, he immediately cut off his own foot with a chainsaw to prevent the spread of the venom. Werner Herzog commented, "It was a good decision, he lived." See more »
During one of boat drifting scene, crew members are visible at the top of the boat, including a man in jeans who tries to avoid the camera. See more »
One of the strangest films I have seen in some time tells the story of a South American rubber baron named Brian Fitzgerald, better known as Fitzcarraldo (Klaus Kinski), a man who dreams of building an opera house in the jungles of the Amazon.
With his white coat, white hat, and his bleached blonde hair, Fitz is quite an eccentric. In a social context, he's an outsider. But he has a bold vision. His romantic sidekick is a woman named Molly (Claudia Cardinale). As a compliment to Fitz, she speaks the film's theme: "It's only the dreamers who move mountains".
After some preparation early in the film, Fitz and crew set sail up the Amazon on a huge boat, to stake out a claim for their business that will bring in the money to advance Fitzcarraldo's dream. The boat is equipped with all the necessities, which include, naturally, a gramophone to play the operatic music of Enrico Caruso. And the best sequences of the film are those set in the remote jungle, as the boat moves through a large tributary of the Amazon, into headhunter territory. With the gramophone blaring out opera amid the sound of Indian war drums, it's the unusual contrast between the primitive and the cultural that makes this film interesting.
Filmed entirely in South America, the story is set in the early years of the twentieth century, long before the advent of television or automobiles.
Color cinematography is quite good. This is a very physical story. Most scenes take place outdoors. And the remoteness of the setting conveys a sense of doom, a sense of unknown terror and foreboding.
While the visuals are stunning, some aspects of the story I'm just not sure about. I never did figure out the significance of the ice. Is that a reward for Indian cooperation? If so, how can ice be preserved in a land without electricity? And without electricity, isn't the whole idea of an opera house in the wilderness a tad ludicrous? Maybe these questions are all answered and I just missed them. Even so, these issues could have been better addressed in the script.
Not as deeply thematic as "Aguirre: The Wrath Of God" (1972), Werner Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" nevertheless is an unusual film, one that is worth watching for its stunning visuals and thematic contrasts, its physicality, and the eccentric character of Fitzcarraldo, the dreamer who can move mountains.
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