This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
Burden of Dreams
For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete one of the most ambitious and difficult films of his career, Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank captured the unfolding of this production, made more perilous by Herzog’s determination to shoot the most daunting scenes without models or special effects, including a sequence requiring hundreds of native Indians to pull a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. The result is an extraordinary document of the filmmaking process and a unique look into the single-minded mission of one of cinema’s most fearless directors.
"If I abandon this project I would be a man without dreams, and I don't want to live like that."
Someone really missed out on a great opportunity to call this Herzcarraldo. It's amazing how closely the making of Herzog's Fitzcarraldo parallels the actual story within the film itself. The film hit every possible snag in its production, from sets falling apart to cast and crew being attacked by natives. And while this is due in large part to Herzog's insane dedication to verisimilitude, it also needs to be said that the director never asks anyone to do anything he doesn't do himself. The problem is that there's almost nothing Herzog won't do himself. There's a shot in the documentary…
In the teeth of a lousy bout of writer's block, it's a blessing to watch someone I admire as much as Werner Herzog saying he's "running out of fantasy". What a great term for the stalling of the imagination - good enough to be swiped for the title of a track on the Manic Street Preachers' 2013 album Rewind the Film.
One of the most quotable documentaries ever, Burden of Dreams sees Herzog in the Amazon rainforest, trying to complete his film Fitzcarraldo. Directed by Herzog's friend and fellow director Les Blank, it largely avoids sensationalism - the famous clip from Herzog's later documentary My Best Fiend of Klaus Kinski screaming out producer Walter Saxer does not appear, despite being…
Herzog is my favourite person in the whole world
"I love it, but I love it against my better judgement".
It's difficult to review this objectively, separate from what I consider to be the greatest film ever made, but I might watch FITZCARRALDO soon so I'll save it. The lovely thing is that BURDEN OF DREAMS stands alone as a great documentary and a perfect companion to its subject. It can be watched before (even though it has "spoilers" I endorse doing this, I saw MY BEST FIEND before FITZCARRALDO and the background information made me appreciate the film much more) or alone. It tells a story by itself, focused on a man willing to risk his life for a metaphor and the disappearing native Amazon people that helped…
They say you have to be a little crazy to create good art. Well, Herzog is a complete madman.
I have the greatest respect and admiration for both the man and the filmmaker Werner Herzog. Just as Fitzgerald, Herzog goes unheard lengths to complete his vision, not matter what. To pull a 320-ton steamer up and over a hill is no joke , it's not film tricks, it's not special effects. Herzog actually did it, risking both the entire production and lives, to complete his dream without compromising. The creative and uncompromising madness of Herzog is reflected in the ambitious maniac in Fitzgerald, and vice versa.
Watching Fitzcarraldo and the documentary Burden of Dreams back-to-back is one of the most rewarding film experiences you can ever have. The story of Herzog is in many ways better than the movie…
The process of making 'Fitzcarraldo' is a fascinating (and troubled) journey into Peruvian Amazon, with all the characteristics of a surreal dream. 'Burden of Dreams' is essencial to understand the labyrinths of this singular piece of modern filmmaking.
A solid "making-of" documentary that shows how the production of Fitzcarraldo paralleled its story. It has some weak moments, and I wished it showed more of Kinski on set, but it's worth watching just to hear Herzog talk and to watch him work.
"My dreams are also your dreams, the difference between you and me is that I can articulate them."
It is remarkable how well Burden of Dreams serves to parallel Herzog's wild dreams (plus eccentricities and colonializing tendencies) with that of his character Fitzcarraldo. Herzog's monologue on the disharmony of the jungle is incredible to see and a fitting climax.
The madman behind the camera becomes the madman in front in this production documentary of Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. Burden of Dreams shows the great lengths Werner Herzog goes to create the realistic and labored feeling of his movies. He becomes the insane subject he so readily depicts in his films, and you are really able to feel his struggle and determination.
I found Burden of Dreams to vacillate between hilarious and stress-inducing easily from moment to moment. His need to accomplish what he sets out to do isn't rooted in any logical reality. He just needs to do it, without really being able to describe why in words. His only means are his camera, and to see a look into his process is almost more valuable than the finished work.
Werner Herzog, the absolute madman of cinema, going against all logic and reason. Going against the jungle, against Kinski, against everything to make his dream come true. Mandatory viewing for anyone who considers making movies for a living.
Interesting doc on "Fitzcaraldo," Herzog and the Amazon. Didn't quite see the "Herzog is a megalomaniac" thing, though. Not earth-shattering but interesting.
Herzog is my favourite person in the whole world
"If I abandon this project, I would be a man without dreams and I don't want to live like that."
I really thought I would end up confused by this documentary due to the fact that I haven't seen Fitzcarraldo, but that wasn't the case. The documentary is simply about passion and dedication, the title being more than appropriate. The burden of Herzog's dream was the shit-storm of problems this film had to face in order to be made.
But, even more than that, the burden was in the struggle to keep morale up and the struggle to keep believing in a project that so many people lost hope for.
Love him or hate him, Herzog is one of the hardest working directors I've ever seen.
Burden of Dreams #152
-Number representative of said film's ranking on my IMDb list-
High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
Great 60-90 min films (for those days when you just don't have the energy to watch a 3 hour masterpiece)
Doesn't the title of the list explain it well enough? This is a list of hight quality "short" films. Easy…