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Burden of Dreams (The Criterion Collection) (1982)

Klaus Kinski , Werner Herzog , Les Blank , Maureen Gosling  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Klaus Kinski, Werner Herzog, Miguel Angel Fuentes, Father Mariano Gagnon, José Lewgoy
  • Directors: Les Blank, Maureen Gosling
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: May 10, 2005
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007WFYB6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,532 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Burden of Dreams (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by director Les Blank, editor and sound recordist Maureen Gosling, and Werner Herzog
  • Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980), an early short documentary by Les Blank
  • New video interview with Herzog
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gallery of set and location photos by Maureen Gosling
  • A book featuring excerpts from Les Blank & Maureen Gosling's journal entries on the set of Fitzcarraldo
  • Theatrical Trailer

Editorial Reviews

For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete the most ambitious and difficult film of his career-Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man's attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank captured the unfolding of this production, made all the more perilous by Herzog's determination to shoot the most daunting scenes without models or special effects, including a sequence requiring hundreds of natives to pull a full-sized, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. The result is an extraordinary document of the filmmaking process and a unique look into the single-minded passion of one of cinema#s most fearless directors.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vision you can sink your teeth into July 19, 2001
By Anita
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Or maybe it will sink its teeth into you. The most compelling dreams are not neat and tidy and are not easy to understand, not even by the person who has and fulfills the dream. That's the case with Werner Herzog's dream of filming the story of Fitzcarraldo. If you liked that movie, this documentary is a must-see, a fascinating look at all the problems Herzog had during the making of the movie. The film is not just about the obvious difficulty of moving the steamship over a mountain in the middle of a jungle. First, there are problems with local Indians that cannot be resolved and so the first location must be abandoned. At the new location, with 40% of filming complete, the star of the movie Jason Robarbs becomes sick and goes home to recover. His doctor forbids him to return. Then Mick Jagger drops out because he can't stay the extra months needed to reshoot the film. (I was disappointed that there was only a minute or two of footage showing Robarbs and Jagger).
Back in Germany, Herzog's investors ask him, Do you have the strength or the will or the enthusiasm to continue? He replies, "How can you ask this question? If I abandon this project, I would be a man without dreams. And I don't want to live like that." Filming continues and there is one more delay and problem after another. Herzog has three ships so he can shoot at different locations and two of them run aground, due to low river levels and the driest season in years. The film does a good job of showing both Herzog's reactions to these problems and his determination to continue in spite of huge financial and personal costs.
Most of my criticisms have to do with the limitation of films generally, namely that I wanted to know alot more about this story.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Herzog fans REJOICE! March 14, 2005
First, Anchor Bay gave rain to our parched Herzog-loving throats with the release of many of the eccentric German maestro's greatest feature films. And now, Criterion offers Les Blank's astonishingly beautiful and gloriously weird documentary on the desperate creation of one of those classic titles, Fitzcarraldo. A production that started off starring Jason Robards and Mick Jagger wound up with the director threatening to murder star Klaus Kinski if he walked off set! See Herzog obsessively orchestrating the movement of an entire steamboat over a treacherous mountain in Peru! No special effects for this master.

"Without dreams we would be cows in a field, and I don't want to live like that. I live my life or I end my life with this project." If every filmmaker thought this way, do you think we'd have to sit thru Son of the Mask?

As a five-star added bonus, we get "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe," a brilliant short doc by Blank which chronicles Herzog actually cooking and devouring his boot after promising Errol Morris to do so if Gates of Heaven was ever completed! Herzog also uses the opportunity to declare war on American television!

God bless Criterion - here's hoping they follow up this exciting release with some unavailable Herzog docs like La Souffiere, Dark Glow of the Mountain, or Wings of Hope, and some other Les Blank rarities like Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers and In Heaven There is No Beer...
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic behind the scenes film January 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Fans of Apocalypse Now or Hearts of Darkness should check this out. It is a documentary detailing the madness Werner Herzog went through in making his film Fitzcarraldo in the jungle. This movie is great because it shows how Herzog's struggles in making his movie parallel those endured by the main character in Fitzcarraldo. Both figures attempt to drag a huge riverboat literally over a mountain in the middle of the Amazon. If you enjoy behind the scenes documentaries or believe in man's obsessive nature, you should see this.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing Account of the Filmmaking Process May 14, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Prior to viewing "Burden of Dreams" I had this preconceived notion that this film was akin to "Hearts of Darkness", the documentary about the making of "Apocalypse Now" where the megalomaniacal director slowly goes mad after countless delays and on-set disasters. To the contrary, director Werner Herzog comes off as a rational artist who, despite the setbacks he encountered during the making of "Fitzcarraldo", soldiers on to see his vision come to fruition. Documentarian Les Blank gives a full-bodied account of the elements that Herzog had to contend with from the volatile nature of the film's setting in the Amazon to dealing with the indiginous tribes who were crucial to the film. Blank meticulously documents the production from it's shaky beginnings to it's end. You get the feeling that Herzog had probably entered this project with great enthusiasm but was relieved some five years later to be done with it. I haven't seen "Fitzcarraldo" in a number of years and it had slight resonance to me. You be the judge as to whether all the energy and resources expended in this endeavor was worth it. Not to be missed, Criterion includes a short subject from Blank, "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" which demonstrates Herzog's integrity in keeping a bet with budding filmmaker Errol Morris. There is also a recent interview included with Herzog where he gives his account of events during the making of "Fitzcarraldo" but is at pains not to denigrate Blank's document.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
I found this to be fascinating, if you are a fan of Werner Herzog I think you would really enjoy this.
Published 15 days ago by Mike Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating documentary about the shooting of Fitzcarraldo
After returning from Iquitos, Peru and a wonderful week on the Amazon and it's tributaries, we wanted to know more about Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald's efforts to build an opera house... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Allen
4.0 out of 5 stars dreams make ideas real
This film is a strong tool to help realize the goal of making connections and to follow one's dream. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Fitzcarraldo you'll love it
"Burden..." shows how Fitzcarraldo was made. It was a fascinating showing of the entire process. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ken
5.0 out of 5 stars Burden of Dreams
I highly recommend this film for any fan of the great German film director, Werner Herzog. It is a documentary about the artistic obsession of a film director making a movie about... Read more
Published 16 months ago by David G. Gaulden
2.0 out of 5 stars Eh, Not My Thing
My boyfriend wanted to watch this with me, I didn't care for it. I found it dry and dull, and rather depressing. But to be fair, I have no interest in this subject matter. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Leila Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Harp Man
I previously wrote a review. It was a gift to a friend who liked it very much.End of Story OK?
Published 23 months ago by RKL
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, if not quite as emotional as I expected
I really enjoyed this. It's a fascinating meta look at film-making.

An obsessed, driven director (Werner Herzog) is trying to make an almost impossible film about an... Read more
Published on September 26, 2012 by K. Gordon
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
Les Blank's 1982 documentary, Burden Of Dreams, is a film that, like Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, follows the near-obsessive drive of a great filmmaker to bring a... Read more
Published on June 7, 2012 by Cosmoetica
5.0 out of 5 stars A hero is who makes possible the impossible!
The stubborness(understood as a synonym for rebellion for all that most people considered unlikely), constancy, obstinacy and the power of will are by themselves,intrinsic... Read more
Published on September 11, 2011 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
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