Burden of Dreams
A documentary filmmaker for fifty-one years, Maureen Gosling is best known for her twenty-year collaboration with Les Blank, including Burden of Dreams. Her most recent film is The 9 Lives of Barbara Dane (2023).
One of the most vivid studies of the creative process ever filmed.David Chute, Herald Examiner
Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Mick Jagger,
Burden of Dreams documents Werner Herzog’s obsessive drive to make his 1982 film Fitzcarraldo. The title character (played by Klaus Kinski) was himself obsessively driven to build an opera house in the turn-of-the-century Amazon. Stunning footage of the seething jungle and its native inhabitants sets the scene for Herzog’s four-year struggle to complete his film. To finance his project, Fitzcarraldo moves a riverboat over a mountain between two rivers, which Herzog re-creates for his film, the jungle fighting him every step of the way. Facing a nonstop series of obstacles to his dream—including border wars, the location camp being raided and burned by indigenous peoples, and the loss of the original star, Jason Robards, after filming was forty percent complete—Herzog claims, ”I’m running out of fantasy,” as birds call loudly in the background. In one of the more unusual films about filmmaking, Gosling and Blank capture a story that has to be seen to be believed.