Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Burden of Dreams (1982) R - 3 Stars

It would appear that I have rented two Werner Herzog films in a row. Though the primitive narration and shooting style of this older documentary almost bored me at times, I couldn't stop watching it. Almost in admiration of the determination of this eccentric German filmmaker, I had to hold on to see if he could achieve his goal. It's captivating to watch his dealings with the natives, the jungles of Peru, the obstacles of designing a boat to withstand the rapids of one river, and another identical boat to be drug over the mountain side to another river. Seeming like an impossible feat to produce the movie, this documentary, shot by Les Bank, features Herzog as he attempts the impossible filming his epic Fitzcarraldo.

With Jason Robards starring as Fitzcarraldo and Mick Jagger as his sidekick Wilbur, there is trouble half way through the movie when Robards becomes ill and must return home. Jagger is also forced to leave beginning concert tours to promote his upcoming album. Herzog decides to start the film entirely over doing away with Jaggers role completely as he feels no one can fill Jagger's shoes. This time casting Klaus Kinski as Fitzcarraldo, Herzog is determined to complete is goal. Despite unpredictable weather, the changing of the rivers water table, and the natives getting restless, some tribes in Peru and Ecuador try shut him down.

The story of the film Fitzcarraldo is about the struggles he has to conquer the Amazon rain forest with it's vicious inhabitants. He takes a large boat up the river and over a mountain to access a river on the other side. The natives untie his boat as it rides the rapids thrusting itself a part, with Fitzcarraldo and his operatic solo fading into the distance.

Flower Films
Director: Les Blank
Writers: Michael Goodwin, Mike Goodwin
Producer: Les Blank
I viewed 4/10

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