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Burden of Dreams Reviews

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Matty Stanfield
July 6, 2014
The back story of FITZCARRALDO is almost as interesting and as great as the film itself.
July 10, 2011
Interesting doco on one of my favourite directors and the trouble he had in getting the epic Fitzcarraldo off the ground (or water as this case may be). Could've done with some subtitled for the interviews with the native indians, heh, but oh well. Interesting stuff to see a man with so much DRIVE to articulate his dream and his vision. It's thoroughly inspiring but is the cost too much sometimes? He's a crazy man that Werner. The film is more about the physical demands of making the picture and strangely leaves out Klaus Kinski and all his insanity (although, to be fair, if you want to have a look at the check out the great doco by Werner Herzog on him called 'My Best Friend').
January 29, 2014
Watched this without seeing Fitcarraldo first. Even still it was interesting, but I would have probably enjoyed this more if I knew the reference material.
November 5, 2013
In some ways this is more entertaining than the film itself. The lack of Kinski is disappointing, though we did get a lot of that in "My Best Fiend".
Michael H.
July 22, 2013
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.
July 1, 2013
In some respects the subject matter of this documentary is similar to the excellent film on the making of Apocalypse Now, Hearts of Darkness.
On the other hand Les Blanks film shows how one director with a manical vision will not rest until he has acheived his goal.
The director in this case is the genius Werner Herzog who unlike Coppola continues to make challenging and interesting films and Documentaries to this very day.
Herzogs plan was at first fairly simple Jason Robards would play the man determined to bring Caruso to the people of th Amazon by building an opera house in the jungles of Peru.
Blank then shows how the film became one nightmare after another for its director with Robards dropping out and Mick Jagger who had a major role in the film having to leave owing to recording commitments.
Herzogs solution to this problem? Well bringing in the short fused actor Kalus Kinski might not have been his best move, then deciding to haul a full size river boat up the side of a very steep hill is not what you would call sensible.
But thats why Herzog makes such an interesting subject for Blanks camera nothing seems to shake him from Kinskis rantings to tribes attacking his crew with alarmingly sized arrows ,Herzog cares pasionatly about his film and the tribespepole around him.
Most directors would of course have shot the whole thing in a studio soundstage, but Blanks film shows ones mans passion for movies can give way to madness in some eyes ,but boy when the end product is a masterpiece who is really going to complain .
April 13, 2013
Director Les Blank recently passed away while at the same time, I recently saw "Fitzcarraldo" for the first time. So it's the best time for me to see this documentary about the making of the film. I suspected based on what I've seen that the making of "Fitzcarraldo" would be just as fascinating and compelling, if not more so, as the film itself. I was absolutely right. It's a great documentary that's almost a remake of sorts of the film it's documenting with Werner Herzog replacing the Fitzcarraldo character. Watching this, I have to say it's a miracle the film got completed and I have to admire Herzog the director for having the tenacity to complete it. Boy, I could listen to Werner Herzog talk all day. No joke.
February 14, 2013
He drug a boat up a mountain because it looked right!
February 6, 2013
No one will love movie making as much as Werner Herzog
January 15, 2013
Les Blank's doc on the production of Herzog's Fitzcarraldo is grand. This gets inside the mind of Herzog and his vision for a particular film and is fascinating to watch.
September 11, 2012
An amazing documentary about the insane process of the making of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo.

Super Reviewer

January 4, 2012
There are a number of movies that people who think they want to make movies should see beforehand, and this one just might be the epitome of that.

Werner Herzog is, hands down, the most fascinating film director of all time. He just has all these qualities that elevate him, and subsequently his movies, into another realm. When he decided to make the highly ambitious film Fitzcarraldo, he also had it in mind to have Les Blank join him to film a making-of documenatry chronicling the film's shoot.

And the results are absolutely fantastic. There have been other movies about troubled film shoots, such as Hearts of Darkness about Apocalypse Now, or even American Movie, but they all seem to pale in comparison to this one, maybe just because of how difficult and troubled Fitzcarraldo's shoot was.

There was the problem of nature, logistics (such as doing everything practically, namely hauling a massive steamship over a mountain), countless delays, dealing with tons of Natives, dealing with geographical issues like red tape and potential civil wars, Herzog trying to deal with the force of nature that was the brilliant but difficult Klaus Kinski (this specific struggle mainly being addressed in the deleted scenes, which were actually taken from Herzog's documentary My Best Fiend), and the director's own massive ego, arrogance, determination, and increasing madness and cynicism.

It's not always flattering, but it's never sensationalist, either. It is simply showing things as they happened. Yeah, it's not always easy to watch, but it's so absorbing that it is hard not to. I especially love the unsubtle way that life reflects art/art reflects life, and the parallels with Herzog's real struggles being one in the same as the lead character's struggles.

If you ever wanted insight as to the sort of questions that can be raised concerning how far is to far when going for greatness and art, then you really must see this film. Or, if you just want to see the ultimate making-of document extended to feature length, then here you go.
October 9, 2012
Such a determined filmaker. I'm just so impressed by Herzog's devotion.
August 24, 2012
Better than Fitzcarraldo itself, Burden of Dreams stands a a reminder of the mad genius found in the artist, while also illustrating the awe-inspiring (and sometimes terrifying) passion of this creative man.
August 11, 2012
Not the best film about moviemaking ever made. (As far as I'm concerned, HEARTS OF DARKNESS still owns that title.) But it is a fascinating chronicle of Herzog's obsessive desire to capture this story on film.
August 9, 2012
Much better than the actual Fitzcarraldo film, this is a grueling and heartbreaking journey of a filmmaker who could care less about fame and fortune. He simply has a dream to tell a great story and tell it as realistically and authentically as possible. This is part of his problem.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2012
The ultimate making of Documentary, far better than the other 'ultimate' doc Heart of Darkness. It's a shame Les Blank didn't film Wrath of God but then he may not have survived. A must for film makers, wannabe film makers, producers and Werner worshippers. "I'm duty bound to articulate our dreams as a film maker" - Werner Herzog

Super Reviewer

July 23, 2012
Plenty of documentaries are made about the art of filmmaking, but very few capture the drive/lunacy it sometimes takes to realize a vision like Burden of Dreams. Les Blank's film, in my opinion, does a better job of portraying the insanity and spirit of Fitzcarraldo than the eponymous film itself. The similarities between the character Fitzcarraldo and Herzog himself are endless. Despite Blank's poetic filming of the amazon jungle, despite all of the conflicts the cast and natives encounter, and despite the documentary footage displayed, the heart of this film is the essence of cinema. This movie is about film-making and the art of it; its passion, its plight, its entirety. Herzog closes the film by stating, "It's not only my dreams, it's my belief that they are yours as well, and the only distinction between me and you is that I can articulate. And that is what poetry or literature or film-making is all about. it's as simple as that. I make films because I have not learned anything else. And I know I can do it to a certain degree. and it is my duty, because this might be the inner chronicle of what we are, and we have to articulate ourselves, otherwise we would be cows in the field." If you really let those words sink in, you truly begin to understand this man, this film, and really, cinema itself.

PS: If I ever make a tribute to the bat shit crazy Werner Herzog, I will definitely call it "Overwhelming Fornication."
November 13, 2011
This is one of the best "making-of" docs that I have ever seen. It follows Werner Herzog as he follows the trials & tribulations of trying to get "Fitzcaraldo" made. Such a fascinating story and Herzog himself is very interesting as he is constantly doing the impossible. The DVD also fatures the short doc "Werner Herzog Eats his Show" which is a must see. Very Highly recommended!
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