|Burden of Dreams|
|Directed by||Les Blank|
|Written by||Michael Goodwin (narration)|
|Produced by||Les Blank|
|Narrated by||Candace Laughlin|
|Edited by||Maureen Gosling|
|Distributed by||Flower Films|
|Languages||Spanish, English, German, Portuguese|
Burden of Dreams is a 1982 documentary film directed by Les Blank.
- Werner Herzog as Self
- Klaus Kinski as Fitzcarraldo / Self
- Claudia Cardinale as Molly / Self
- Jason Robards as Fitzcarraldo
- Mick Jagger as Wilbur
- Mariano Gagnon as Self
During production on the documentary, director Les Blank and his small crew became exhausted and exasperated from the stress of the work. Blank said he felt "unconnected to the people around me". Keeping up with the antics of Herzog and Klaus Kinski (the star of Fitzcarraldo) proved difficult for the reserved, introverted Blank. By the last week of the shoot, he was so burnt out that he feared he would come 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Blank often asked Herzog to repeat statements while being filmed that he originally made off-camera.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 in which Herzog delivers a monologue about the violence and destruction of the jungle around him. Blank said Herzog had originally made a similar monologue in the middle of a canoe ride, away from cameras, but Blank liked the speech enough to coax it out of Herzog again.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 [the interviewer] led him around to something that sparked him off on that tangent again. That's how we got the speech."
Reception and legacy
Roger Ebert awarded the film four out of four stars, writing that "Blank...is unafraid to ask difficult questions and portray Herzog, warts and all".
In 2022, the film was spoofed by the Emmy Award-nominated mockumentary series Documentary Now as the two-part episode Soldier of Illusion. The spoof involves acclaimed German filmmaker Rainer Wolz (Alexander Skarsgard) trying to film a documentary about residents of the Russian Ular mountains, while simultaneously directing the pilot of an upcoming sitcom called Bachelor Nanny.
Other documentaries about troubled movie productions:
- Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, about the making of Apocalypse Now
- Lost Soul, about the making of the 1996 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau
- Lost in La Mancha, about the failed attempt to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
- Jodorowsky's Dune, about the troubled pre-production and unsuccessful adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel Dune
- Empire of Dreams, about the complicated production of Star Wars
- Persistence of Vision about the epically-long production of the animated cult classic The Thief and the Cobbler
- Ian Aitken (January 2013). The Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film. Routledge. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-415-59642-8.
- Blank, Les; Bogan, James (1984). Burden of dreams : screenplay, journals, reviews, photographs. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-938190-17-2.
- Blank, Les; Bogan, James (1984). Burden of dreams : screenplay, journals, reviews, photographs. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. pp. 112, 114. ISBN 978-0-938190-17-2.
- Jesse Pearson; Jerry Hsu (2009-09-01). "Les Blank". VICE.
- "Burden of Dreams". Monte Dolack Fine Art. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
- Burden of Dreams at Rotten Tomatoes
- Ebert, Roger. "Burden of Dreams Movie Review (1982)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
- Benzine, Adam (5 February 2013). "Hot Docs to honour Blank". Playback. Brunico Communications.
- "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
- Alexander Skarsgard, Nicholas Braun on lampooning Werner Herzog in the Documentary Now! premiere|EW.com
- Official website
- Burden of Dreams at IMDb
- Burden of Dreams at AllMovie
- Burden of Dreams at the TCM Movie Database
- Burden of Dreams at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Burden of Dreams: In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, an essay by Paul Arthur at the Criterion Collection