Burden of Dreams "I live my life or I end my life with this project," renegade director Werner Herzog vowed on the set of his jungle epic Fitzcarraldo… Burden of Dreams "I live my life or I end my life with this project," renegade director Werner Herzog vowed on the set of his jungle epic Fitzcarraldo…
DVD Review

Burden Of Dreams (2005)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: May 10, 2005; DVD Release Date: May 10, 2005; Genre: Documentary

''I live my life or I end my life with this project,'' renegade director Werner Herzog vowed on the set of his jungle epic Fitzcarraldo, in which a 19th-century iconoclast attempts to drag a 320-ton steamship over a steep Amazonian landmass. Herzog's death-defying endeavor (executed with the help of an indigenous Indian tribe, not special effects) is the basis for Burden of Dreams, Les Blank's lyric chronicle of the film's four-year evolution. Regarded as a standard-bearer for making-of pictures — largely because Herzog proved a more captivating study in obsession than his subject — Dreams pairs nicely with Herzog's own introspective My Best Fiend, about Fitzcarraido's madman star, Klaus Kinski. Blank's unobtrusive style — ''You don't push your subject,'' he commentates, ''you wait and wait and wait'' — observes nature's wrath as a metaphor for artistic torment, culminating with Herzog pontificating, ''The birds here don't sing, they just screech in pain.'' EXTRAS In a 2005 video interview, Herzog reasserts his gloomy worldview; but Blank's 1980 short Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe — a leather boot served with onions, garlic, and hot sauce — adds a solid helping of levity.

Originally posted May 09, 2005 Published in issue #819 May 13, 2005 Order article reprints
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