Previously at the ICA - Films

Burden of Dreams

23 Dec 201124 Dec 2011

The production of Herzog's insanely ambitious film Fitzcarraldo is told here brilliantly in Les Blank's remarkable film. Perhaps the greatest documentary about filmmaking ever made, this makes the shooting of Apocalypse Now look like a school outing.

Original star Jason Robards falls ill half-way through production necessitating starting the whole thing over again with the ever-volatile Kinski replacing him in the lead. No sooner is this obstacle overcome when a border war breaks out forcing the production to relocate 2,000 km (1,200 miles) away. Later, two plane crashes, and all of this conspires against Mick Jagger's casting who now has to drop out of the film, and then of course there's the legendary difficulties of hauling 300 tonnes of boat up a mountain in the middle of a jungle. While all of this is riveting in and of itself, Blank also puts the camera on Herzog himself asking all the right questions about just what kind of man undertakes a task like this, risking not only his own life but those of his colleagues in pursuit of his personal vision. The answers Blank gets are at once fascinating and heart-stopping.

Dir: Les Blank, 1982, German and Spanish with English subtitles, cert U, 95 mins

Cast: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale

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