''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.