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BURDEN OF DREAMS

USA, 1982 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Les Blank

A fascinating and controversial look at the ill-starred production of Werner Herzog's five-years-in-the-making feature, Fitzcarraldo. Set in the jungle of Peru, Fitzcarraldois the story of a mad dreamer who will stop at nothing to realize his ideal.

Like his central character, Herzog takes on near-impossible challenges. He struggles to recreate with painstaking realism the central metaphor of the film — the hauling by hand of a huge steamship up a 40-degree grade chopped into the jungle riverbank. In addition, he tries to placate warring Indians and battles the river and the weather. As problem after problem confronts Herzog, Blank's camera documents his growing desperation and obsession. A fascinating portrait of a man, an environment and their monumental clash.

See also...

IN HEAVEN THERE IS NO BEER?

USA, 1984
As versatile an ethno-musicologist as Mr Blank is, his approach to his material involves at least as much warmth as scholarship. The music, as depicted here, becomes a natural unfiltered reflection o… More »

Sprout Wings and Fly

USA, 1984
There are no naked women in Les Blank's film, but the music is equally good. It is a touching tribute to Appalachian culture in the form of a profile of the legendary mountain fiddler, Tommy Jarrell … More »

Gap-Toothed Women

USA, 1987
What do model Lauren Hutton, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, truck driver Rena Morena, Chaucer's 'Wife of Bath', cartoonist Doris Seda, Cleopatra, and belly dancer Sharlyn Sawyer have in c… More »

HAITI - DREAMS OF DEMOCRACY

UK, 1987
The seemingly spontaneous boycott of the sham elections held in February in Haiti makes a lot more sense after one has seen Jonathan Demme's documentary on Haitian street life in the post-Duvalier er… More »

In the Land of the Owl Turds

USA, 1987
Roland drives a dada art gallery on wheels and attracts more girls than he knows what to do with. Unfortunately they seldom stick around. Can it be his chicken imitations? His dead animal skulls? His… More »

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