True Films

Burden of Dreams


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Occasionally, the movie about making the movie is the better movie. Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams is the better movie which documents the filming of Werner Herzog’s fictional movie Fitzcarraldo. Herzog imagines that his film hero, Fitzcarraldo, employs a small army of native tribesmen to haul a steamship over a mountain in the Amazon, from one river to another. For reasons clear only to himself, Herzog decides this super-human scene must not be done with special effects. Burden of Dreams records Herzog’s 4-year obsession in trying to film native American tribesmen hauling an immense steamship over a mountain pass in the deep Amazon jungle. He becomes Fitzcarraldo, or maybe Captain Ahab. Herzog’s blind determination whips him from one disaster to the next, making this journey both astonishing and incredibly mesmerizing. Like Hearts of Darkness, this is a peek into how a movie can drive one insane.

— KK

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Burden of Dreams
Directed by Les Blank
1982, 95 min.
$3, Amazon Instant Video rental

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon




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