Still getting my head around this making-of documentary on Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, which turned out to be both more and less disturbing than expected. Less, because the catastrophes that bedevilled Herzog’s production in the Peruvian jungle aren’t quite on the scale of Apocalypse Now (as chronicled in Hearts of Darkness), and because Kinski is making more and more sense to me. In Burden of Dreams, he appears as the sanest person around–and that in itself is mighty disturbing. The real maniac here is Herzog, even though the film barely includes anyone else’s point of view. In the end, Herzog gives a rousing speech about his responsibility to make movies (“If we don’t articulate our dreams, we might as well be cows in a field”)–but it’s not his own life he risked trying to pull a boat over a mountain, and others had to die. The Criterion DVD comes with Les Blank’s short film “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.”

Burden of Dreams. Les Blank, 1982. ****

[tags]film, 4 stars, german, peru, werner herzog, klaus kinski, fitzcarraldo, dreams, documentary, filmmaking[/tags]