Burden of Dreams Reviews
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 .
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.