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Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo Hardcover – June 30, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Reveals Herzog to be witty, compassionate, microscopically observant andyour calleither maniacally determined or admirably persevering.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Stands alone as a compellingly gonzo piece of reportage. . . . As a read, Conquest flies alongbut not because it’s especially plotty. Rather, it gathers its kick from the spectacle of a celebrity director escaping the late’70s famescape into his own obsessions.” (Time Out New York)
“Those who haven’t encountered Herzog on screen will undoubtedly be drawn in by the director’s lyricism, while cinephiles will relish the opportunity to retrace the steps of one on the medium’s masters.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Urgent and compelling. . . . A valuable historical record and a strangely stylish, hypnotic literary work.” (Kirkus Reviews)
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Top Customer Reviews
What he does dwell on is the Amazon itself. Herzog seems to enjoy love-hate relationships -- his relationship with the Amazon is much like his relationship with Klaus Kinski. At times he is repelled and rants against the jungle:
"The jungle is obscene. Everything about it is sinful, for which reason the sin does not stand out as sin. The voices in the jungle are silent; nothing is stirring, and a languid, immobile anger hovers over everything."
"Tumors form on the trees. Roots writhe in the air. The jungle revels in debauched lewdness."
Kinski appears, with his own rants, irrational behavior, just plain annoying, irritating behavior. He keeps insisting to Herzog that the jungle is erotic:
". . . Kinski amorously leaned his cheek against a tree trunk and then began to copulate with the tree. He thinks this is immensely erotic: the child of nature and the wild jungle. . . . . To me it was not erotic at all. I spat, only obscene."
Mick Jagger and Jason Robards also appear -- they were cast in Herzog's first attempt to film the movie, cut short by Robards' illness.Read more ›
Great fun to watch the movie again as you read along with his tribulations. Was especially moved by his tendency to describe things as though they were happening in some somnolent state in a country that only existed in his dreams and then how he would effortlessly switch to telling us what he had for lunch.
An audio recording of Herzog himself reading these diaries would be priceless. I'd imagine the absurdity would be operatic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an amazing book, teeming with brilliant, lucid, no bull observations and storytelling. It’s mostly taken from the gritty, often grotesque diaries he kept while making... Read morePublished 3 months ago by A Reader
Notwithstanding the films he's created, Conquest of the Useless provides an amazing journey through the mind of Werner Herzog.Published 9 months ago by David Munoz
I am a Werner Herzog fan so I enjoyed the book. Absolutely must watch the movie Fitzcarraldo before reading the book.Published 10 months ago by Randall L. Barthel
This book is only peripherally about the film Fitzcarraldo. Yes, it talks about the production, the actors, the budget and more, but the book itself is really more of a look inside... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Constant Reader
This book truly gives one a glimpse into the mind of Herzog, who expresses himself with astounding acuity, and a sense for the hidden poetry in the unnoticed beauties of every day... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Beverly K Macri
Substantial addition to understanding of the circumstances, under which the film evolved.Published 18 months ago by Ursula Hahn
Poignantly describes the trials of everyday life in the jungle and the physical and psychological effects on people. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Lowflyer