movie film review | chris tookey

Burden Of Dreams

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  Burden Of Dreams Review
Tookey's Rating
9 /10
Average Rating
8.83 /10
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Directed by: Les Blank
Written by:

Released: 1982
Origin: US
Length: 94

Blank's mesmerizing film shows the extraordinary problems confronting Werner Herzog in trying to bring Fitzcarraldo to the screen.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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One of the great films about film-making. The story of Fitzcarraldo, about a man who dreams of bringing opera to the Amazonian jungle, is echoed in the tale of Herzog’s attempt to make his film despite the departure during filming of both his leading men - Jason Robards with dysentery, Mick Jagger to meet other obligations.

Herzog’s increasingly haggard appearance shows the price of film-making, and the film is a primer on how almost everything that can go wrong will go wrong - weather, locations, extras, you name it. The visual highlight is when Herzog tries to transport a huge boat over land - a wonderful metaphor for the whole process. You can’t help but feel sorry for Herzog, but there’s a callousness about him as well. It’s hard not to feel that he is going mad.

A crowning irony is that this documentary is much better, and more fondly remembered, than Herzog’s completed film.

If you enjoy this, try Hearts of Darkness: A Film-Maker’s Apocalypse (about the scarcely less manic making of Apocalypse Now) and Lost in La Mancha
(about the making, or rather non-making of Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote)

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