Siddhesh Joshi

Burden of Dreams

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Director  Les Blank
Story by  Michael Goodwin
Country  United States
8/10 IMDb

Genre  Documentary
Initial DVD release  May 10, 2005
Burden of Dreams movie poster
Language  Spanish/English/German/Portuguese
Writer  Michael Goodwin (narration)
Release date  May 30, 1982 (1982-05-30)
Initial release  September 22, 1982 (New York City)
Cast  Werner Herzog (Himself), Klaus Kinski (Fitzcarraldo / Himself), Claudia Cardinale (Molly / Herself), Jason Robards (Fitzcarraldo), Mick Jagger (Wilbur), José Lewgoy (Himself)
Similar movies  The Jodorowsky Constellation, King Kong, King Kong, Ed Wood, Barton Fink,

Burden of dreams 1982

Burden of Dreams is a 1982 "making-of" documentary film directed by Les Blank, shot during and about the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo, and filmed on location in the jungles of South America.


Burden of Dreams movie scenes

Burden of dreams 1982 trailer documental


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Throughout production, Blank and his small crew became exhausted and exasperated from the stress of the work. Blank said that he felt “unconnected to the people around me”. Keeping up with the antics of Herzog and Klaus Kinski (the film’s star) proved difficult for the reserved, introverted Blank. By the last week of production, he was so burnt out that he feared coming out of production "like some Viet Nam veterans, horribly calloused". He wrote in his journal, "I'm tired of it all and I couldn't care less if they move the stupid ship – or finish the fucking film".

Blank would often ask Herzog to repeat statements while being filmed that he originally made off-camera. In a 2009 interview with Jesse Pearson for Vice magazine, Blank was asked to recall a scene in the documentary showing Herzog delivering a monologue about the violence and destruction of the jungle around him. Blank says that the scene originally took place in the middle of a canoe ride, away from cameras, but he liked the speech enough to coax it out of Herzog again. "When the moment was right," Blank told Vice, "I pulled him aside and said, 'Can I do a little interview?' And he said, 'Sure.' Goodwin led him around to something that sparked him off on that tangent again. That's how we got the speech."

Reception and honors

The film received the 1983 British Academy Film Award for Best Documentary and was named Best of Festival at the San Francisco Film Festival the same year.

The film poster was created by Montana artist Monte Dolack and Eduardo Sanguinetti.


The Academy Film Archive preserved Burden of Dreams in 1999.


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