Burden of Dreams (1982)

Rating: B+

Dir: Les Blank
Star: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski

[12] This documentary chronicles the making of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, and ends up being more fascinating than the movie it portrays, though with the same central theme: grand folly. Like a Shakespearean tragedy, heavenly ambition becomes hellish nightmare, as Herzog is forced from his first location at gunpoint by local Indians, lead actors Jason Robards and Mick Jagger drop out and the vital rainy season is missed. Then things really start to go wrong. See Kinski, smiling on arrival, metamorphose into a scowling wreck, muttering about the “fuckin’ stinking jungle”. See Herzog spend four years trying to make a film. See a bulldozer taken on the Amazonian jungle, and lose – the jungle didn’t need spare parts flown in from Miami – all depicted with unflinching detail. A nightmare.