Burden of Dreams | Chicago Reader

Burden of Dreams

Les Blank's 1982 documentary on the making of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. The film suggests Herzog's own documentaries about visionaries—The Great Ecstasy of the Sculptor Steiner, La Soufriere—as Blank steps back to coolly observe Herzog's grand, demented attempts to haul a steamship up an impossibly steep river bank. But Blank's approach is less mystical than Herzog's, and in the film's more ironic, matter-of-fact moments, the German director can be seen busily manufacturing his own myth. The film is at once funny and, in its depiction of the scant differences between art and megalomania, somewhat frightening.

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