Reviewed byGalinaVote: 9/10/10
Full of bravura and inspiring sequences the bizarre epic "Fitzcarraldo"won Werner Herzog the best director award at Cannes Festival in 1982.This is the film that keeps reminding us the words of Oscar Wilde, "Weare all in the gutter but some of us look at the stars". Even fewer tryto reach the stars and Werner Herzog and his longtime collaborator andfrequent adversary Klaus Kinski were certainly the men who have reachedthem. Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (or Fitzcaralado the local Indians'name for Fitzgerald) was a visionary, a man with a beautiful obsessionwho dreamed of a building an opera house in the Peruvian rain forestsand bringing the great singer Enrico Caruso there. Fitzcaralado's planinvolved dragging a huge steamship over a small mountain to avoidtraveling upstream through rapids. This plan was duplicated by Herzogduring the production and involved the real Indians actually haulingthe boat over the mountain. The image of the boat floating in theclouds and the small figure of Fitzcarraldo dressed in the white suitlooking with his crazy wild eyes at the boat is one of the mostbeautiful and breathtaking visions at the screen ever. This film is notas perfect as Herzog's and Kinski's previous project, the stunning"Aguirre, The Wrath of God" but it is a magnificent and fascinatingtale that could only be told by its matchless team of creators.
Reviewed byRoger BurkeVote: 9/10/10
This is a work of fiction, although the idea for the story and the namecame from a real person who actually lived at Iquitos, Peru, and whowas a rubber (not robber) baron in the eighteen-nineties.
Arguably, Klaus Kinski (as Fitzcarraldo) was born to play the main role although Werner Herzog considered taking up the role himself. But, noone can play an eccentric the way Kinski did in this film. It's notNosferatu (1979), but the wide, staring eyes are looking at you, allthe time, in the same spooky way.
And, only an eccentric of the most magnificent kind would dare to takea 340-ton ship up the Amazon and carry it over a mountain down toanother river! Isn't that just one of the craziest things you've everheard of? Well, the truth is Herzog actually did do that and simplyused Kinski as his surrogate to prance around the mud and clay, withthe local Indians, and generally taking the praise for a job well done.There were no special effects the production team actually pushed andpulled that hulk up a slope of hundreds of meters and then down toanother river.
So, who was really crazy: Herzog or Fitzcarraldo?
Never mind that: just see this movie for the lush, primeval jungles ofSouth America; for the rich tones of various opera singers, includingCaruso (on a phonograph); for the stunning photography aboard theill-fated Molly; for the antics of Kinski, as he thrashes around,pushing himself and others to the limits; for the army of localIndians, pulling the ship over the mountain; for the hauntingsound-track provided by Popul Vuh, Herzog's perennial musical team ofchoice; and, of course, for the lovely Claudia Cardinale past herprime but still remarkable...
I love this movie and I hope you do also. And, when you have seen it,then see Burden of Dreams (1982), the film that tells the story of themaking of Fitzcarraldo. It's maybe better than the fiction...
Reviewed byRighty-Sock ([email protected])Vote: 8/10/10
His films are perfect examples of the European tradition of the'auteur' film, in which the director is seen as the originating andcreative force behind the work But there is also a sense that Herzog'svisionary monomaniacs function as the director's alter ego, embodyingthe heroic status of the auteur, always struggling against recalcitrantreality to fulfill his dream
This seems especially true of "Fitzcarraldo," which, sets a hundredyears ago, begins with an Irish colonist who had a passion for operarowing 1,200 miles down a South American river, accompanied by themadam of a brothel, in order to hear the great Caruso perform
Inspired by this experience, Fitzcarraldo embarks on a grandiose planto open up the Amazonian jungle to river transport, providing access tonew rubber plantations and thereby making enough money to build anopera house
Herzog's favorite actor, Klaus Kinski, is as appropriately manic asFitzcarraldo, eyes glittering madly as he pursues his vision In thecentral sequence he organizes a tribe of Indians to help him pull asteamboat across a mountain in order to by-pass dangerous rapids
"Fitcarraldo" seems by turns admiring of its hero's megalomania andmocking of his hubris, with no illusions about the cynical exploitationof the region's riches by the rubber barons whom Fitzcarraldo tries todefeat by cleverness Ultimately though, it is the sheer spectaclewhich we remember
Fitzcarraldo is an obsessed opera lover who wants to build an opera in the jungle. To accomplish this he first has to make a fortune in the rubber business, and his cunning plan involves hauling an enormous river boat across a small mountain with aid from the local Indians.