While FITZ remains my least fave Herzog/Kinski film, BURDEN OF DREAMS is the best film about the making of a film I've seen (though it's not just about that so that helps) and a great film in its own right. RIP Les Blank.
Is Herzog a) simply bats-t insane or b) better at everything than you? I'll take c) All of the Above. Herzog's waxing poetic should give any aspiring artist pause and awe. Seeing what seems like otherworldly determination in spite of defeat, and the natural and cultural factors that would strike down a lesser man, is enough to make me want to also steal a camera and claim it was for the greater benefit of mankind.
It's about the making of Fitzcarraldo. But it isn't. It successfully manages to capture the essence of trying to achieve something grand, amidst the backdrop of dense jungle and with poignant messages on life outside the accepted bounds of human living. Herzog's dreamy, meandering speeches and commentary make this unforgettable.
herzog is my spirit animal but in a less obsessive form. the documentary is an ahab-esque story about a man willing to go to impossible lengths in order to bring his dream to life in one of the most inhospitable areas of earth. the whole thing seems almost a fever dream with herzog's commentaries that dance on the lines of absurdity, surrealism and deadpan humour.
When I came back to Germany and I tried to hold all the investors together... they said to me,
"Well, how can you continue? Can you - Uh, do you have the strength or the will or the enthusiasm or so?"
And I said,
"How can you ask this question? It is - If I abandon this project,
I would be a man without dreams... and I don't want to live like that. I - I - I live my life or I end my life with this project."
Among the very best "Making Of" documentaries. Obsession, frustration, danger, and isolation combine to create an increasingly volatile environment. I always keep Herzog's rant against the jungle in mind when looking at Herzog's profound-sounding narration in other movies; he could easily just be going off the rails again. And it's interesting to see Kinski stepping in as caretaker, cleaning up after Herzog.
Herzog lends himself by very nature of his oddity to be the prime subject of documentation. Therefore at the outset you know this is going to be interesting to say the least. From existential monologues bordering on absurdity to simply watching a cinematic force at work, worth the price of the admission. What one isn't expecting and finds quite delightful is many scenes of natural beauty within the jungle context.