After reading about this on Tyler‘s site Southern Vision and knowing that this is a movie that is directed by Werner Herzog (one of my favorite directors) I really felt compelled to get my hands on this movie. I immediately bought it when I bumped into it at a store and was ready to make the journey into the Amazon, together with a crazy or brilliant opera lover by the name of Fitzcarraldo (played by Klaus Kinski)
Fitzcarraldo has a dream of building an opera house in the middle of the jungle, but in order to do that he needs lots of money which he doesn’t have. The area he lives in is ruled by rubber barons, who spend lots of money, but none are really willing to help him. There’s only one thing he can do to make money and that is to get into rubber himself. There is still land available to exploit. Problem is though that it’s past some rapids which you can’t pass with a boat, making it almost impossible to get the rubber out of there. He has a brilliant plan though as there is another river very close to that spot. The only thing he has to do is get his ship close and then pull it over the mountain to get to the right place.
It’s a crazy story and was written by Herzog when he heard about a man who actually tried this (only he took the boat apart). It’s an impressive movie to watch knowing that they did actually get that boat on land and over the hill. The production had lots of issues, which I’ll discuss further in my review of the documentary Burden of Dreams (which has added to my appreciation of Fitzcarraldo) that was made about the making of this film.
Fitzcarraldo shows that the drive of one man can get you to do things that seem impossible. Klaus Kinski, with his very distinct look, stands out and makes you care for his character even if he does seem to be very obsessed. The movie makes you feel the heat and humidity of the Amazon, the danger you can run into when you meet the indians that live there and that life is a precious thing.