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Burden Of Dreams (Criterion Collection)


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Burden Of Dreams (Criterion Collection) + Fitzcarraldo (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Mick Jagger
  • Directors: Les Blank
  • Writers: Werner Herzog, Michael Goodwin
  • Producers: Les Blank, David R. Loxton, Kathy Kline, Tom Luddy
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English, German, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: May 17 2005
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007WFYB6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,526 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Pinkerton Snoopington on July 13 2005
By any standards, "Burden of Dreams" is unforgettable. It's a documentary about director Werner Herzog's attempts to make his film "Fitzcarraldo." A difficult project, Herzog, filming in Peruvian jungles, actually had his native workers pull a steamship over a mountain (with a 70% chance of catastrophe), among other insanities. Also on display are scenes of Jason Robarbs and Mick Jagger in "Fitzcarraldo" before they had to quite (fascinating, and an indication of how different the movie might have been if Klaus Kinski hadn't starred). As mad as he is, Herzog somehow comes across as someone to root for, and "Burden of Dreams" actually winds up being a more interesting portrait of crazed determination than "Fitzcarraldo."
The DVD from the Criterion Collection lives up to their mighty standards. The 1.33:1 image looks surprisingly good for a documentary, with only a bit of grain and very few scratches. Of the many extras, the best is the short film "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe," a bizarre 20-minutes of clearly displeased Herzog doing just that (to fulfill a bet). It's quite funny, in an odd way, and it's use of the song "Ol' Whisky Shoes" is memorable. Also included is a commentary by director Les Blank, editor Maureen Gosling, and Herzog; a new interview with Herzog (he doesn't seem to have changed much); photo galleries; deleted scenes, which include Klaus Kinski going on a profane temper tantrum (perversely fascinating); and a trailer. Interestingly, a booklet of Gosling and Blank's diaries from the "Fitzcarraldo" set come with the package. It's almost enough to forgive the ludicrously high Criterion price tag.
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By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 26 2012
I really enjoyed this. It’s a fascinating meta look at film-making.

An obsessed, driven director (Werner Herzog) is trying to make an almost impossible film about an obsessed, driven man
trying to do the same impossible thing the film-maker is trying to do – drag a 320 ton boat over a mile of forest.

Most people see this as an out-and-out masterpiece, which makes me feel I need to see it again. I found it always
interesting, but less emotionally compelling than two other great films about difficult filmmaking dreams gone awry;
‘Hearts of Darkness’ about the making of ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘Lost in LaMancha’ about Terry Gilliam’s never
completed ‘Man of La Mancha’ film. There’s a distance in this film that worked to a point, but kept me from being
emotionally caught up in Herzog’s dream, or fully understanding it.

The Criterion Edition also contains Les Blank's wonderful 20 minute short "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe". In it's
quirky, funny way I find this has more to say about the need for madness and art to co-exist than the main
feature.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 26 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Herzog fans REJOICE! March 14 2005
By Kippered Herring - Published on Amazon.com
First, Anchor Bay gave rain to our parched Herzog-loving throats with the release of many of the eccentric German maestro's greatest feature films. And now, Criterion offers Les Blank's astonishingly beautiful and gloriously weird documentary on the desperate creation of one of those classic titles, Fitzcarraldo. A production that started off starring Jason Robards and Mick Jagger wound up with the director threatening to murder star Klaus Kinski if he walked off set! See Herzog obsessively orchestrating the movement of an entire steamboat over a treacherous mountain in Peru! No special effects for this master.

"Without dreams we would be cows in a field, and I don't want to live like that. I live my life or I end my life with this project." If every filmmaker thought this way, do you think we'd have to sit thru Son of the Mask?

As a five-star added bonus, we get "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe," a brilliant short doc by Blank which chronicles Herzog actually cooking and devouring his boot after promising Errol Morris to do so if Gates of Heaven was ever completed! Herzog also uses the opportunity to declare war on American television!

God bless Criterion - here's hoping they follow up this exciting release with some unavailable Herzog docs like La Souffiere, Dark Glow of the Mountain, or Wings of Hope, and some other Les Blank rarities like Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers and In Heaven There is No Beer...
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Mesmerizing Account of the Filmmaking Process May 14 2005
By David Baldwin - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Prior to viewing "Burden of Dreams" I had this preconceived notion that this film was akin to "Hearts of Darkness", the documentary about the making of "Apocalypse Now" where the megalomaniacal director slowly goes mad after countless delays and on-set disasters. To the contrary, director Werner Herzog comes off as a rational artist who, despite the setbacks he encountered during the making of "Fitzcarraldo", soldiers on to see his vision come to fruition. Documentarian Les Blank gives a full-bodied account of the elements that Herzog had to contend with from the volatile nature of the film's setting in the Amazon to dealing with the indiginous tribes who were crucial to the film. Blank meticulously documents the production from it's shaky beginnings to it's end. You get the feeling that Herzog had probably entered this project with great enthusiasm but was relieved some five years later to be done with it. I haven't seen "Fitzcarraldo" in a number of years and it had slight resonance to me. You be the judge as to whether all the energy and resources expended in this endeavor was worth it. Not to be missed, Criterion includes a short subject from Blank, "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" which demonstrates Herzog's integrity in keeping a bet with budding filmmaker Errol Morris. There is also a recent interview included with Herzog where he gives his account of events during the making of "Fitzcarraldo" but is at pains not to denigrate Blank's document.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, but not as impressive as it once seemed July 20 2005
By Trevor Willsmer - Published on Amazon.com
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Following the astonishing trail of disasters Werner Herzog faced making 'Fitzcarraldo' on location in Peru - including tribal wars, a seriously ill Jason Robards' departure after 40% of the film had been shot, one ship running aground due to low rainfalls and another obstinately refusing to move up the mountain - Les Blank's famous and once groundbreaking documentary has dated badly.

It's an excellent portrait of Herzog's obsession and the growing madness surrounding the shoot, but it's more a catalogue of catastrophes rather than a candid view of the shoot: although unused footage was shot of Kinski's tantrums, the star and director's relationship is all but ignored and you tend to get the feel of a superior travelog giving the official version (a lot of the other real crises happen offscreen). There's plenty of absurdity on view, such as prostitutes being brought to the native workers camp on the advice of the local Catholic missionary, but 'Hearts of Darkness' it ain't. But you can't help but admire the way that, unlike Fitzcarraldo, who falls prey to the dreams of the natives he thinks are working for him, Herzog manages to cling on to his dreams and ultimately triumph, incorporating each new on-set disaster into his film.

No complaints about Criterion's DVD treatment - the extended theatrical version of the documentary in a beautiful print with commentary, a new 39-minute interview with Herzog, a couple of deleted scenes that were used in Herzog's own doc 'My Best Fiend,' trailer, copious stills gallery and a book with substantial extracts from production journals. An excellent companion piece to 'Fitzcarraldo,' but it probably has less appeal to those not so interested in the film.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Les, Firing Anything but Blanks! Aug. 29 2006
By Shaun Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Les Blank's documentary is much more than just a making of Werner Herzog's FITZCARRALDO, which is what makes it important and interesting. Like Herzog's own documentaries which blur the boundaries between fact and fiction Burden of Dreams often slips into the realm of a feverish fantasy world. A world in which sanity is far less important than fulfilling dreams and which death and danger are accepted bedfellows. Often FITZCARRALDO becomes immaterial as Blank eye for local detail picks out strange images or centres on exotic looking birds or insects. It exists in a continuum of its own, precariously balanced within the bizarre politics that surrounded FITZCARRALDO'S production and also outside of this melting pot. In many ways it has outlived the film it is chronicling and instead of gratuitous shots of Klaus Kinksi raving we have shots of local customs and portentous doom laden interviews with Herzog. The film is secondary to Herzog, who comes across as driven and perhaps a little insane, affected by paranoia, he sees the jungle and creation itself as an enemy, something to be feared and loathed. He has become the apotheosis of his own movie world and myth making process, the marginalized loner, the outsider.

Unfortunately amid the excitement, we really only get Herzog's side of events and the documentary seems unduly biased in this direction. Nobody else is interviewed, which makes the film seem a little unbalanced. Despite this bias in Herzog's direction he still emerged from FITZCARRALDO and BURDEN OF DREAMS with his reputation in tatters. This is an outstanding piece of work, which shows the film-making process at its most extreme edges.

Criterion's DVD is one of their best. A superb 40 minute interview with Werner Herzog is the sets highlight, but also of note is Blank's brief documentary WERNER HERZOG EATS HIS SHOE, to have this included is a precious bonus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent documentary July 7 2005
By Ted - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

Burden of Dreams is a documentary about the troubled production of Werner Herzog's film, "Fitzcarraldo."

The movie was produced in the Peruvian jungle and there were various problems during production. Location scouting got a native american tribe upset and they forcible evicted the film crew, the lead actor got sig in the middle of principal photography and had to be replaced, and a number of other problems. It also shows the troublesome effort of the film crew to pull a 320 ton steamboat up a 40º angle hill for one of the film's scenes.

The documentary also contains interviews with the cast and crew of "Fitzcarraldo" and a loot at the cultural life of the native americans hired as extras. After seeing this making of documentary, I have a desire to see Fitzcarraldo. as it looks like a very nice work.

The Criterion DVD includes some nice special features also.

"Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" is self explanatory film. The story behind it involves a friend of Herzog that wanted to be a filmmaker. Herzoc sarcastically told him, "If you ever make a movie, I will eat my shoe." his friend took him up on the bet.

"Dreams and Burdens" is a new interview with Werner Herzog

Two deleted scenes, a photo gallery, a theatrical trailer and Audio commentary by director Les Blank, editor and sound recordist Maureen Gosling, and Werner Herzog.

There is also, in addition to the liner notes, excerpts from the diaries of Les Blank and Maureen Gosling written during production.

This DVD is one of the better ones that I have seen and I recommend it highly


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