Burden of Dreams 1981 NR CC

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(35) IMDb 8/10
Available in HD

For nearly five years, Werner Herzog worked on the most ambitious and difficult films 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, including a sequence requiring hundreds of native Indians to pull a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain.

Starring:
Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski
Runtime:
1 hour 35 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

Burden of Dreams

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Les Blank
Starring Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski
Supporting actors Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Mick Jagger, Alfredo De Rio Tambo, Ángela Reina, Carmen Correa, Elia De Rio Ene, David Pérez Espinosa, Miguel Ángel Fuentes, Mariano Gagnon, Paul Hittscher, Huerequeque Enrique Bohorquez, Evaristo Nunkuag Ikanan, José Lewgoy, Laplace Martins, Thomas Mauch, Nelson De Rio Cenepa, Walter Saxer
Studio The Criterion Collection
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Nobody else is interviewed, which makes the film seem a little unbalanced.
Shaun Anderson
The forcefulness of the story rests within the topic, which in this case is Herzog and his desire to fulfill his dream.
Kim Anehall
That's the case with Werner Herzog's dream of filming the story of Fitzcarraldo.
Anita

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Anita on July 19, 2001
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 By Philip Brubaker on 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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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kippered Herring on March 14, 2005
Format: DVD
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Baldwin on 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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