peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 11 01 BurdenOfDreams

Burden of Dreams (1982)

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Every Apocalypse Now needs its Hearts of Darkness; this is Les Blank doing the necessary for Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. (Herzog and a member of crew return the favour by wearing tshirts that say "garlic is as good as ten mothers" (at keeping the girls away).)

As a documentary of the production it disappoints only in not recording any Kinski explosions; apparently I need to watch My Best Fiend for those. His monologue is colourful, incoherent and somewhat engaging while Herzog has a few goes at out-Brandoing Brando in his Germanic monotone. I can't imagine Jason Robards in the lead — he looks like he's trying so hard in the surviving footage, at least relative to Kinski — and his scenes with Mick Jagger are not great. Claudia Cardinale appears but does not engage the documentarians. She had the good sense to not leave the city. It is clear that while Herzog has that will to conquer the useless, Kinski out-insanes everyone.

Roger Ebert: four stars. Vincent Canby.