Fitzcarraldo (1982) Poster

(1982)

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9/10
Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad...
RJBurke194227 January 2007
This is a work of fiction, although the idea for the story and the name came from a real person who actually lived at Iquitos, Peru, and who was a rubber (not robber) baron in the eighteen-nineties.

Arguably, Klaus Kinski (as Fitzcarraldo) was born to play the main role – although Werner Herzog considered taking up the role himself. But, no one can play an eccentric the way Kinski did in this film. It's not Nosferatu (1979), but the wide, staring eyes are looking at you, all the time, in the same spooky way.

And, only an eccentric of the most magnificent kind would dare to take a 340-ton ship up the Amazon and carry it over a mountain down to another river! Isn't that just one of the craziest things you've ever heard of? Well, the truth is Herzog actually did do that and simply used Kinski as his surrogate to prance around the mud and clay, with the local Indians, and generally taking the praise for a job well done. There were no special effects – the production team actually pushed and pulled that hulk up a slope of hundreds of meters and then down to another river.

So, who was really crazy: Herzog or Fitzcarraldo?

Never mind that: just see this movie for the lush, primeval jungles of South America; for the rich tones of various opera singers, including Caruso (on a phonograph); for the stunning photography aboard the ill-fated Molly; for the antics of Kinski, as he thrashes around, pushing himself and others to the limits; for the army of local Indians, pulling the ship over the mountain; for the haunting sound-track provided by Popul Vuh, Herzog's perennial musical team of choice; and, of course, for the lovely Claudia Cardinale – past her prime but still remarkable...

I love this movie and I hope you do also. And, when you have seen it, then see Burden of Dreams (1982), the film that tells the story of the making of Fitzcarraldo. It's maybe better than the fiction...
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9/10
Beautiful Obsessions...
Galina_movie_fan7 July 2005
Full of bravura and inspiring sequences the bizarre epic "Fitzcarraldo" won Werner Herzog the best director award at Cannes Festival in 1982. This is the film that keeps reminding us the words of Oscar Wilde, "We are all in the gutter but some of us look at the stars". Even fewer try to reach the stars and Werner Herzog and his longtime collaborator and frequent adversary Klaus Kinski were certainly the men who have reached them. Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (or Fitzcaralado – the local Indians' name for Fitzgerald) was a visionary, a man with a beautiful obsession who dreamed of a building an opera house in the Peruvian rain forests and bringing the great singer Enrico Caruso there. Fitzcaralado's plan involved dragging a huge steamship over a small mountain to avoid traveling upstream through rapids. This plan was duplicated by Herzog during the production and involved the real Indians actually hauling the boat over the mountain. The image of the boat floating in the clouds and the small figure of Fitzcarraldo dressed in the white suit looking with his crazy wild eyes at the boat is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking visions at the screen ever. This film is not as perfect as Herzog's and Kinski's previous project, the stunning "Aguirre, The Wrath of God" but it is a magnificent and fascinating tale that could only be told by its matchless team of creators.
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9/10
There is no denying the visual and technical magnificence of Herzog's achievement.
khanbaliq227 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
In Peru in the early 20th century, an eccentric Irishman (Klaus Kinski), who is a fervent Caruso fan, resolves to accomplish an extraordinary feat against all odds: establishing an opera house in the jungle.

Fitzcarraldo is a strange, brilliant, unforgettable film centering on the hero's successful attempt to drag his massive boat from one river to another; clearly in director Werner Herzog's mind, a Herculean task comparable to getting a film made that reflects a director's artistic vision. For this film Herzog won the award for Best Director at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.
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9/10
Follow your dreams
drgordon-caldwell28 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Fitcarraldo has a dream to have Grand Opera performed in the Amazon Jungle and goes to enormous lengths and overcomes innumerable obstacles and set backs to see his dream come to life. He even has a whole steam ship winched up a hill by Amazonian Indians, but their shared effort is to fulfil a different dream, which scuppers Fitzcarraldo's plans. Undeterred he sells the ship, and uses the proceeds to hire the Opera Company, who perform from the decks. Beautiful filming, wonderful Caruso singing, manic acting, and a powerful message to keep on if you believe in a dream and want to see your dream come true. So good I did not even notice the dubbing!
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9/10
Caruso
RainDogJr15 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a long and wonderful journey full of eccentricities, full of dreams and of acts that one could never imagine. The film introduce to us a man in love with something, with the opera, since always he had one clear goal, one clear dream, something that will make him look like a complete insane man, like a visionary and always like a dreamer. Again we have the encounter of different worlds. Here is clear that the people from the old continent are having all the success however Brian "Fitzcarraldo" Fitzgerald (Klaus Kinski) is still looking out for that road to the success. He is in the ice business, he left incomplete another visionary project and basically at one point he is seen as a complete madman when he tries to share what the opera makes with him. He is an eccentric character, he is a businessman and a visionary who will do what nobody ever imagine if there is a hope to get what he wants to get what he needs for that dream, for that opera house. On that way his dream will stay intact but the way to get what he needs will change until the mission is clear, not clear in ways of how successful it will be but clear in the mind of Fitzcarraldo. Everything seems great for the team that will join our main character in his journey however not a long time after they began to have questions, actually the first questions began right after the steamer took its way. The fear is the only thing Fitzcarraldo can represent to his team and not because he is an evil man or something but because he is doing something that nobody has done. He will be alone at one point with only three men from the original crew. The fear was always there thanks to the natives but they were something different. The opera was a reason to see Fitzcarraldo as a different man for those successful men but maybe it was one of the reasons of why Fitzcarraldo and his team were still alive. Is hard to know how the natives were thinking, for sure they wanted to find a place of peace. Is fascinating because at one point Fitzcarraldo's plan became something that, even if it was just something almost impossible and without a clear conclusion if they succeed, was a real mission not only for Fitzcarraldo but now for his team too, it became something for what they were really fighting and when the success looked at least possible the happiness was there, at least for a couple of minutes. Now they were a true team not only men carrying out with their jobs for other man who's real intentions were basically unknown. Fitzcarraldo felt the glory just to see how his plan was failing but another man, now "infected" with the dream, came with the final plan, the one that delivered a moment of true happiness. Fitzcarraldo and his team could return, they did something impossible with the help of who knows what and the film ends with a moment of true happiness for the dreamer, the visionary, the madman…

Kinski created another complex character, now based on the real life Peruvian Carlos Fermín Fitzcarrald. He is great as the film (the film-making values of it are impressive) however this is not my favourite performance of Kinski and not my favourite film of Herzog, of course from the ones I have seen that are: For A Few Dollars More (Kinski), Aguirre, the Wrath of God (both), Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (both), Woyzeck (both), Les Fruits de la Passion (Kinski), Grizzly Man (Herzog) and Rescue Dawn (Herzog). For the record, I saw this film after midnight so in the first minutes of this day (15 September 2008) not knowing for sure if I was going to stay awake. It was amazingly interesting and fascinating that I do stay awake even that its runtime is 158 minutes or so. Still is not an accessible film or at least not as accessible as others of Herzog, in my opinion the clearest example of an accessible film of Herzog is Rescue Dawn. Absolutely worth watching and I feel that I will be watching it again soon, not extremely soon but soon.
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9/10
8/10
bateauivre1124 September 2002
FITZCARRALDO

Fitzcarraldo, Herzog's most famous -- and infamous -- film , is the story of a man who yearns to build an operahouse in the middle of the Amazon jungle. The inimitable Klaus Kinski delivers one of his most inspired performances as the eccentric Irishman who strikes out into a cloying world of García Márquez-ian lushness and magic. The Jivero Indians believe that "everyday life is only an illusion behind which lies the reality of dreams." They see Fitzcarraldo's gigantic steamboat as the means to soothe the angry gods who have chosen to leave their world unfinished. For Herzog's script to remain true to his personal vision, he actually had to drag the ship over a mountain. The painstaking process encountered every disaster possible, including tribal and cast revolts, droughts, and floods. Herzog somehow pulled the boat and everyone else along with his own dream, to create one of the truest representations of the primordial and one of finest examples of the transcendent nature of film. Greater ordeals were in store with the making of the formidable Fitzcarraldo, about a man so

obsessed with bringing opera to the backwaters of the Amazon that he pulls a 340-ton ship over the mountains. The film was plagued with disasters of all sorts including two plane crashes, a border war between Peru and Ecuador, and two crew members shot with arrows, necessitating kitchen-table surgery. The film, which took three years of preparation and nine months of shooting, featured 5,000 extras, required building a jungle camp, and had a crew of only 14 or 16, which Herzog claimed to be his largest crew yet. Jason Robards, originally cast in the title role, became so ill he was flown out of the jungle and forbidden by doctors to return. The volatile Kinski was recruited to replace him. "The Indians were scared of this mad man. At the end of shooting one day, one came up to me and

said, 'Shall we shoot him for you?' They said they weren't afraid of this screaming mad man, they were afraid of me because I was so silent." His experiences making the film prompted the exasperated Herzog to say in a documentary, Burden of Dreams, "I shouldn't make movies anymore. I should go to a lunatic asylum." Linking all his films, he said, is the desire to understand the human condition, to look deep inside the unexplained mysteries of our existence and ask who we are. "A deep glimpse inside of our heart is important. At the same time I try to articulate new images. We are surrounded by worn out images. We need to develop a language of images adequate to our civilization. It sounds a little high, but it's practical to me."

Article.excerpt
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9/10
**** out of ****
kyle_c14 September 2002
Fascinating masterpiece by Herzog follows opera lover Brian Sweeney Fitzcarraldo (Klaus Kinski) as he tries to exploit an unclaimed area of the jungle for rubber trading as a means to fund his dream of an opera house. Driven by a masterful performance by Kinski and the whole cast, as well as superb direction, cinematography, and scripting. Long but interesting all the way through. Still an accessible film despite long stretches without dialogue and a leisurely pace.
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9/10
Herzog scores
Cosmoeticadotcom11 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I first watched Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo back in the late 1980s, on PBS, and found it to be a great film. All these years later I still find it to be a great film, if not quite in a league with Herzog and Klaus Kinski's other most famed filmic pairing, Aguirre: The Wrath Of God. The earlier film, made a decade before, shares other elements with Fitzcarraldo, which was written and directed by Herzog. The most obvious is that both involve river journeys in the Amazon, and both films have scenes of troublemakers being left in the jungle to fend for themselves. In Aguirre it's a horse, in Fitzcarraldo it's four humans. A less obvious commonality is that both films were shot in English, then dubbed into German. Thus, when one chooses the English language option on the DVD one is watching the film as it was originally made. This is how I watched it, and how all foreign language or foreign made DVDs should be packaged. In a visual medium there is absolutely no excuse for foreign films to not have available English dubbed soundtracks, for the reading of words necessarily diminishes the visual impact of the film on first watching.

However, this film would still be great even were it only available with subtitles. Yet, if a viewer is expecting another vintage over the top performance by Kinski, he will be disappointed, for Kinski's titular character, whose real name is Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Fitzcarraldo is a local nickname based on a mispronunciation), is far more understated a role than in his other collaborations with Herzog. It's a great performance, nonetheless, which proves a) that Kinski was one of the Twentieth Century's greatest actors and b) how felicitous it was for Herzog that his original choice for the role, Jason Robards, dropped out due to illness. While I think Robards was a fine actor, he was not near the pure acting talent that Kinski was. Another fact gleaned from the DVD commentary is that Herzog had a sidekick role for Robards' version of Fitzcarraldo, with rock star Mick Jagger in the lead role. A few scenes of this pairing appear in Herzog's acclaimed documentary on Kinski called My Best Fiend, and they are absolutely terrible. That Jack Nicholson was also considering taking the lead role, but declined it, is another instance of fortuity's role in great art. There are many little moments in the film, that are the realism in the 'eye level realism', which make the film seem less like a film and more as if a camera had been snuck aboard a real life adventure. This is where the film's greatness really comes into focus, for so few other directors ever have such moments in their films. Herzog often calls these moments ecstatic truths, but they are great because they are not really ecstatic, merely ordinary, but displaced in narrative space and time so that they take on a meaning and metaphor that is not immanent. As example, there are the young children who stare at the jail Fitz is held in after an incident at a rubber baron's party. The police chief lets him out because the children will not flee, and one child plays a fiddle for days on end. Why? There is no explanation, but oddities like this occur in life far more often than they ever appear in film. There's the tiny black employee of Fitz's, who has guarded his railroad property from Indians, not knowing it's another project he has returned on. His odd but endearing behavior seems real precisely because only an oddball would defend another man's property without pay for months on end. There is the black umbrella that floats toward the boat as a seeming warning from the local Indians. There is the celebration by the Indians after the boat has made it over the mountain, where native women squirt their breast milk into bowls to be drunk.

Then, at film's end, there is a close moment between Fitz and Captain Paul. Yet, Fitz whispers it into the Captain's ear, so the viewer never knows what is said. Having seen the more recent Lost In Translation, where what was whispered between that film's two lead characters was taken as a 'stroke of genius' by tyro director Sofia Coppola, it does not surprise me that she stole that idea from Herzog. In this film, since it is a greater film, and the two characters have gone through far more, the gesture is even more powerful and moving. The very fact that a moment like that goes uncommented upon by all the major critics of the film- then and now, yet when it appears in a film like Coppola's is lauded without surcease, shows how far much more a film like Fitzcarraldo has to offer than a rather light piece of fluff like Lost In Translation. This is because such moments are in surfeit in Fitzcarraldo, whereas they are the centerpieces of Hollywood tripe. But, as Captain Paul mentions to Fitz, there are two kinds of silences- the good and the bad. Oddly, the lack of praise for such a great moment is one of the good silences. Enjoy the gilt.
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9/10
When you stop dreamin' is time to die...
rainking_es31 August 2004
Fitzcarraldo, an opera enthusiast who sets out to build a theatre in the heart of the peruvian amazonian jungle in order to invite Enrico caruso to sing in it. A man and his dream. He doesn't have money enough, so he has to get into the rubber businness: he buys a plantation situated in a remote zone of the Amazonas, but there's a problem: he and the workers cannot reach that plantation going up by the river with their big steamship, 'cause the plantation is in a parallel river, surrounded by rapids. No problem: he'll take a short cut through the jungle itself, he'll make the ship go up a hill and he'll take it to the other side, the side where the plantation is.

That's the story Werner Herzog gives us. All the troubles Fitzcarraldo's gotta get through. The will-power, that's what Fitzcarraldo is about. Herzog perfectly recreates what it means to live in the Amazonas, you can almost feel the sweat, the humidity, the stifling heat. With a calm and slow rhythm (just like that ship climbing that hill) he takes pleasure filming all the corners of that astonishing river while the voice of Enrico Caruso goes out from Fitzarraldo's record player. He came off well of a rather difficult job, adn made his best film (for me -though I love Aguirre or Nosferatu as well-). Klaus Kinski, one the more excessive and intense actor ever, plays one of his best performances (due to his bad temper and his complicated personality it wasn't easy to work with this man) and brings Fitzcarraldo to life as no one could possibly have done.

Risky, epic, poetic, emotive, exciting... I'd have to use so many adjectives to define this movie and what it made me feel.

PS: The filming of Fitzcarraldo was almost as difficult as Fitcarraldo's enterprise: Werner Herzog took all the crew (cast included, of course) to Perú, he recruited a whole cast of native people; they suffered all kind of diseases, that infernal-humid weather, storms, mosquitos, snakes, and all kind of jungle creatures, they knew the meaning of the "jungle". Sure it was a ruinous business; but who cares? Money does not mean anything. Fitzcarraldo means a lot of things.

My rate: 9/10
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9/10
Engrossing!
gregvw30 July 2000
Herzog has really produced a gem with Fitzcarraldo. The story of a more-than-half-mad opera fanatic (played to perfection by Klaus Kinski) who's dream is to build an opera house in the Amazonian jungle. His plan is to exploit the only unclaimed region of rubber trees to get his venture capital. The only problem is the territory is unreachable by boat because of trecherous rapids. Fitzcarraldo has a blue-sky plan to get his ship to those trees, but when his crew deserts him, a stroke of native lore-based luck allows him to enlist a tribe of headhunters to haul his immense riverboat up and over a cliff between two rivers. Fitzcarraldo, his captain, engineer, and cook are particularly engaging characters of some idiosyncracy; actually all of the characters seem pretty idiosynchratic in this film. I found the incidental music to be well chosen and the cinematography to be first rate. My only complaint is that the film is 157 minutes in length and there were a number of opportunities to trim the running time without sacrificing content.
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9/10
Brilliant, Eccentric, Adventurous.
Amyth476 March 2019
My Rating : 9/10

I thought that it was a very visionary and cinematographically-rich movie and Klaus Kinski has done a fabulous job of enacting Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald.

Great, must-watch!
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9/10
Another Mad Act
Tweetienator3 April 2018
To build an Opera in the midst of the jungles is a mad undertaking - like to make this movie. A fantastic and unique work by Werner Herzog and his companion in madness Klaus Kinski. Such movies they don't make anymore - it needs total committed directors and actors to make a movie like Fitzcarraldo and this kind of people are not anymore around in movie-making - today, movie-making is not about art and expression anymore but about business and fame, and therefore you get people involved who are attracted by money and glory and - p.c. stuff. Just compare the complete dedication and spirit of a Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald 'Fitzcarraldo' to his project with all the female "super-heroes" of real life they promote today in movies - editors and tennis-players and such "risky operations"...

Anyway, like all the other movies of the duo Herzog/Kinski I strongly recommend this one. Superb.
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9/10
The mediocre may be sacrificed for the romantic and the ambitious
PimpinAinttEasy23 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Fitzcarraldo is a film that celebrates imperialism. The mad artistic imperialism of one man and not the imperialism of some cabal or corporation or country. I guess this is why Fitzcarraldo is called conquistador of the useless at a party. The madness of human endeavor and the dreams of a romantic man are shown to be more important than people who simply exist. It does show the other side - exploitation of the tribal people. But there are too many scenes of the tribal s going around doing their jobs like zombies. And they are not portrayed in very good light. They are easily exploited and also very violent. There is an emptiness in their eyes. They are not romanticized.

Klaus Kinski is an interesting actor. I cannot think of anyone else like him - maybe Dean Stockwell. Jack Nicholson was supposed to play the title role but apparently he asked for too much money.

Actually pulling the boat up that incline to make it look real on film was very commendable. Films like this do not get made anymore. Some of the long shots were simply spectacular.

The crazed background score seems to exemplify the madness of the lead character.

It is a slow burn adventure film that could be compared to APOCALYPSE NOW/DELIVERANCE/SORCERER. But it is unlike any of those American films.

(9/10)
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9/10
Fitzcarraldo
quinimdb14 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
How far would you go to accomplish your biggest dream? Probably not nearly as far as Fitzcarraldo, or for that matter, Werner Herzog, but then again your dream probably isn't nearly as big as theirs.

Fitzcarraldo thinks he is a God, and in order to do what he does, he needs to. He also thinks he is a good man, but unfortunately he is neither of those things. He has once before tried to build a railroad through the amazon, but was unsuccessful, showing that he couldn't overcome nature before. But he now has the dream of building an opera house in the jungle, since he seems to think that the opera is the key to happiness. He was in the ice business, showing he thinks he is a visionary, but in order to get the money to build his opera house, he needs to sell rubber, which would give him the most profit. How does he decide to do this? Well, he must pull a steamboat full of rubber over a mountain, of course.

Fitzcarraldo is so obsessed with the idea of his opera house that he builds a pulley system in order to pull his steamboat up the mountain and uses Indians for his personal labor, as Werner Herzog did in the actual making of the film. This caused the death of several Indians, but Fitzcarraldo kept using the Indians, even after they left inexplicably and suddenly all came back at once and worked just as they did before. Of course, Fitzcarraldo pays when they end up going into the wrong part of the river because of the Indians ("the ship must take the evil spirits out of the river") and the ship gets smashed up. Fitzcarraldo manages to accomplish his dream of having an opera in the jungle on his beloved boat as his wife watches. But at what cost?

It's a testament to the drive and ambition humans can possess, but also our selfishness, and complete disregard for others so we can accomplish our personal goals. We think we can do anything, that we have dominion over nature, but of course the river throws the boat around as if it's nothing, just after his accomplishment. But that doesn't stop us. The fact that Herzog actually did what we see in the film proves the film's point even more, and just as Fitzcarraldo reached his dreams, so did Herzog. And luckily, they were both recognized for their accomplishments, but the true reason they did all of this is for themselves. If it weren't for themselves they wouldn't have been able to do it in the first place.
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9/10
A homage to visionaries
Andy-29626 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This two and a half hour German film released in 1982 is one of Werner Herzog's best movies. It reads mostly as a homage to crazy visionaries, people whom Herzog clearly identifies with. Based on a true story, but taking considerable liberties with the truth, this film tells the story of one Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Klaus Kinski, who is terrific), an opera mad Irish entrepreneur living in Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazon in the late 19th century. Fitzgerald was called Fitzcarraldo by the locals, who found his original name difficult to pronounce. A plan by him to build a railway crossing the Andes had failed, and his next project of making ice wasn't going anywhere. After a talk with a rubber baron, he came up with a new plan: to exploit rubber in a very remote part of the Amazon rain forest and with the profits made from the venture build an opera house in Iquitos. For that purpose, he buys a river boat with money from the madam of a brothel (played by Claudia Cardinale) who sympathizes with him. He hires a rowdy crew to accompany him in his boat to his jungle tract, including a nearsighted captain, a drunken cook and a giant Indian called Cholo. Now, the area where he had the concession to exploit rubber trees could only be accessed through a river with impossible rapids to cross. But a navigable river ran nearby, and he came up with the idea of carrying the whole boat between the rivers with the help of nearby Indians. Only problem, those Indians were hostile head hunters, known to kill previous trespassers in the area. And to make things worse, the terrain where the portage of the boat took place was not plain but was rather a steep hill (apparently, the real Fitzcarraldo did carry a boat through a hill, only he disassemble first into pieces, and later assemble it back in the nearby river).

In a superb extender scene, Fitzcarraldo manages to get the Indians to carry the boat to the other river, but after wards, things start unraveling badly. But just when the film looks like is going to have a downbeat ending, Herzog pulls out a surprisingly heartwarming finale, which I won't reveal here but in which Fitzcarraldo partly fulfills his dreams - though some reviewers find it anticlimactic compared with the scene of the boat going up the hill.

Originally Jason Robards was going to play Fitzcarraldo, with Mick Jagger playing his sidekick. Eventually, Robards got a tropical disease during the filming and had to bow out on medical advice, and Jagger also abandoned the shooting due to his musical commitments with the Rolling Stones (by the way, there is some footage around the Internet showing Robards and Jagger playing their characters and is clear that they would have been dreadful in the movie). Herzog decided to call Kinski, who doesn't look Irish at all, but had the right crazy intensity for the character, while writing off Jagger's role. By casting Kisnki, the movie turn into a German speaking film, which looks incongruous in a film set in the Peruvian Amazon, though you will eventually suspend your disbelief.
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9/10
There is no single non-CGI image as awe-inspiring in 80s cinema as the dragging of a steamship across steep land.
Eternality27 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
If there was ever a film that captured the madness of one filmmaker and summed up his notorious obsession with translating crazy stories onto the big screen, that film would be Fitzcarraldo, and that director would be Werner Herzog. Made in 1982, and competed at Cannes, where Herzog was awarded Best Director for this incredible endeavor, Fitzcarraldo tells the tale of one man who dreams of building an opera house in the middle of the jungle. That man is Brian Fitzgerald, played by the enigmatic and screen-stealing Klaus Kinski.

In order to fund his opera house, Fitzgerald buys a steamship so that he could sail upstream along the Amazon River to reach a forested area that has been inaccessible to Man for centuries. That area contains millions of rubber trees that could be tapped, which could earn him a fortune. Fitzcarraldo follows Fitzgerald as he journeys deep into the heart of nature, chasing a dream that is just as wild as the environment he has thrust himself in. He encounters a hundred odd native Indians along the way, piquing their curiosity with his large steamship, and later enlisting their labour to carry out an absolutely crazy plan.

Fitzgerald's plan is to drag his steamship, all thirty tones of it, over a steep hill from one river to another. Very remarkably, Herzog filmed this entire sequence without the aid of visual effects. As a result, it remains to be one of cinema's most jaw-dropping scenes, a technical achievement rarely equaled and almost impossible to emulate by anyone whose sanity is still intact. Herzog's camera captures this incredible sequence with documentary-like realism; one can hear the rumbling and creaking, and feel the tension in the ropes as they pull the massive man-made beast over difficult terrain.

Another sequence that is every bit just as suspenseful shows the steamship colliding with rocks, as rapids force it to float dangerously fast downstream. Herzog's mastery of his environment, in this case, the natural environment, is his strongest attribute. Despite shooting in a hostile location, facing insurmountable physical challenges, and being notoriously over-demanding on the cast and crew, he manages to complete the film, which is already a feat in itself. In Fitzcarraldo, Kinski grounds his character in reality with a performance that is much less exaggerated (and powerful) than his starring role in Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972), but with more subtlety to match his character's eccentricity.

Filled with absurdist situational humor – one bizarre moment sees Fitzgerald playing Italian opera on his Victrola on top of his floating ship as he tries to drown the sounds of tribal drumming and chanting during the journey upstream, Fitzcarraldo however feels slightly uneven in terms of pacing. There are uninteresting, sporadic moments with the natives on board the ship that drag along, stagnating the narrative. But fortunately, for most parts, Herzog's film is quite engaging, and at times, the stunning visuals grip you and become etched in your mind.

Fitzcarraldo is not Herzog's greatest film, but it is arguably his greatest feat as a filmmaker. There is no single non-CGI image as awe-inspiring in 80s cinema as the dragging of a steamship across steep land. And to the sounds of Caruso playing on the Victrola.

SCORE: 8.5/10 (www.filmnomenon.blogspot.com) All rights reserved!
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9/10
Oh My God!! What Have i Just Seen!!
simh7 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"It is only the dreamers who move mountains" fitzcarraldo is one the most ambitious film that i've ever been across. the film starts with the title character fitzcarraldo played graciously by klaus kinski and his wife travelling 1200 miles just to hear Caruso sing. fitzcarraldo is the story of a dreamer who dreams of building an opera in the Peruvian jungles. with one major failure already behind which nearly bankrupted him, fitzcarraldo remains unaltered. now, the fact that all this has truly happened and the dreamer fitzcarraldo has really existed in blood and flesh makes the experience of watching fitzcarraldo even more interesting. with the meager money left in his pocket this guy set's out on a journey and you secretly pray in your heart that he hit's the bull's eye. he travel's around trying to set up a proper business that would generate the money to fulfill his casino dream. once again our guy does the unexpected. he leases an inaccessible parcel of area that generates rubber from the Peruvian government. purchases a 340 ton steam boat raises a crew and sets off up the pachitea, a river in peruvia.This river is known to be more dangerous the further one gets from the Amazon because of the unfriendly tribes that inhabit the area. Fitzcarraldo's plan is to reach the point where the two rivers nearly meet and then, with the manpower of enlisted natives, physically pull his three-story, 340-ton steamer over the muddy hillside across an isthmus, from one river to the next. Using the steamer, he will then collect rubber on the upper Ucayali and bring it down the Pachitea to market.

The most toughest scene ever shot by a man who call's himself a director is the ending scene where we spellboundedly watch a smiling fitzcarraldo and his crew pull over a 340 ton steam ship across a mountain. the director werner herzog didn't want special effects to ruin the most important scene of the movie. instead he wanted a real 340 ton boat moved over a hill and he got what he wanted. only a dreamer himself would have ever dreamed of making a film on fitzcarraldo and the dreamer happened to be werner herzog. " I live my life or end my life with this film" is the first statement made by him when he announced this film.

indeed " It is only the dreamers who move mountains"..
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9/10
A true classic of world cinema
thieverycorp7621 June 2009
Herzog returns to the beautiful yet merciless Amazonian jungles and creates a film of epic proportions. In this turn of the century tale the Amazon beckons and Brian Sweeney Fitzacarraldo answers it's call. Fitzcarraldo has a dream to build a great opera house and his eccentric nature will not allow that dream to go unfulfilled. After failed attempts to build a Peruvian railroad line, he then directs his efforts to the production of ice. Scoffed by the local rubber barons who tag Fitzcarraldo as the conquistador of the useless, his beautiful girlfriend Molly convinces him the only way he can gain the capital needed to bring his dream to fruition is to harvest rubber himself. Despite the scarcity of available land, the lack of reliable labor, and the threat of native indians, Fitzcarraldo accepts the daunting challenge and our story begins.

Herzog painfully spared no expense to create authenticity and his results are among the greatest of engineering feats ever achieved on filmed. The viewer can't help but marvel at his efforts and the suspense created. This monumental epic boasts wonderful performances, amazing locations, and a gripping storyline that stays with the audience long after viewing. A true classic of world cinema.
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9/10
arresting,complex captivating,intense and charming at the same time!
sfwinterspring5 April 2000
Fascinating, visually compelling story of obsession to acceptance. Opera to the Amazon is a marvelous story line. Les Blanc's documentary Burden of Dreams re: the making of this film adds value to the viewing experience and worth seeing as a film in its own right. Klaus Kinski is extraordinary and I never appreciated Claudia Cardinale until this film.
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9/10
A sublime nut
Rueiro25 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
If we had to chose one film from among every auteur-director's body of work, the film that sums up the creator's ideas,obsessions,artistic energy and talent at its highest point, then we have to say that "Fitzcarraldo" is the ultimate Herzog film. At least it will be the film he will always be most remembered for.

I loved it from the first time I saw it in its entirety, and I could understand the reasons that move Kinski to drag that ship up a mountain. The guy is bonkers, sure, but he is a lovable nut. The film is the story of a man with an inexhaustible willpower and a capacity for romantic dreams like no one else ever had and which move him to try to achieve the impossible. Fitzcarraldo is Herzog's alter-ego. When the director told his idea of actually dragging the ship up the mountain for real, many potential investors laughed at him and pulled out of the film, foreseeing only disaster. But the man got his way and made the film just the way he wanted to. I would have loved being there in the set just for the fun and the excitement of seeing a 300-ton boat being dragged over a mountain entirely by brute force. No one was killed in freak accidents during the entire shooting. The ship was dragged up the mountain and then let down again just like we see it in the film, and then it was let loose down the rapids as well. Three identical ships were used. Kinski's psychopathic behaviour reached such extremes that the Indian extras hired by Herzog, shocked by the sight of Kinski's schizophrenic explosions, offered Herzog to kill that raving maniac. Herzog turned the offer down, and he and Kinski would go to make one last film together after this one -Cobra verde. Fitzcarraldo is, undoubtedly, Herzog's greatest and craziest film, and probably Kinski's most famous role.
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9/10
Outstanding film in every regard.
coldwaterpdh13 January 2010
The plot of this movie is pretty out there. You get the feeling that all involved in the project suffer from some sort of mental illness, but it works so well. Sometimes the chemical mixture of the director, actors and the crew along with the story just meshes perfectly and this film is a fine example of that.

"Fitzcarraldo" pulls no punches and never attempts to be grandiose; it just IS. I can't imagine a movie like this being made today. It should be shown to film students and those who champion these Hollywood blockbusters with their ridiculous CGI effects.

Recommended to those who like Klaus Kinski. He gives a great performance here. Almost as good as "Aguirre: The Wrath of God," but not quite as groundbreaking in my humble opinion.

9 out of 10, kids.
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