2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caruso on the Amazon!
It seems almost ridiculous to add yet another praise-filled review to the heaps already expressed here, but such a consummate piece of art like, 'Fitzcarraldo,' deserves the most it can get. Since others have brilliantly summarized the plot, I'll concentrate instead on why one should 'treasure' the three perfect hours of this film.
Rare is the film nowadays that says so...
Published on Jun 12 2004 by B. Berthold
3.0 out of 5 stars not a review
For those that don't know, Fitzcarraldo was a real-life person, and he was actually Peruvian--not a foreigner. Just so you know.
Published on Sep 5 2002
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caruso on the Amazon!,
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (VHS Tape)It seems almost ridiculous to add yet another praise-filled review to the heaps already expressed here, but such a consummate piece of art like, 'Fitzcarraldo,' deserves the most it can get. Since others have brilliantly summarized the plot, I'll concentrate instead on why one should 'treasure' the three perfect hours of this film.
Rare is the film nowadays that says so much with so little. Dialogue is used very sparingly throughout Fitzcarraldo, but that's all the better, for Kinski's Fitzcarraldo doesn't need words to express his dream. Every close-up of that intense face tells more than two hours of annoying chatter ever could. With his sharp features, searing gaze and untamed mane, Kinski is indeed Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald. A man possessed by his dream, by his mission to bring one of the most delectable of human creations, opera, to the 'wilds.' I agree most wholeheartedly with that reviewer who mentionned the role of Kinski's hair. It indeed has a life of its own and it mesmerizes the viewer. Like the antennae of Fitz's spirit, it stiffens in determination to see his passion come to bear, and then flys off his head, when the dream is realized. Every single second of this masterpiece is artfully necessary. Every stony gaze from the Indians, every sweeping shot of the misty jungle fits perfectly into place, creating a mosaic of colossal proportions. The scenes of the boat being painfully nudged over the hill mirror the struggle of creation itself. Or my favorite: when the Indians board the boat and meet Fitz for the first time. Herzog closes-up on how the chief gently touches, then rubs Fitz's palm. Two minutes that cast us into eternity. What could it mean? A symbol of our underlying brotherhood, a first 'clash' between 'the civilized' and 'the wild?' I don't even pretend to know, nor do I particularly care, for the soothing, almost sensual warmth of the scene brings that inner peace that all great art should.
Ponderous? Deliberate? Yes and rightly so. Good things, great things, whether they be an exquisite meal, passionate lovemaking or the creation of a masterpiece, take their own time, irregardless of the frantic chaos that surrounds them. Fitzcarraldo is one such 'time-less' experience. Dive in and revel in its every breathtaking second!
Not only does this film enrichen our senses, it strengthens our hearts. Fitz instructs us on we should pursue our dreams. With relentless faith. Believe and yes, we can move mountains! And move our weighty burdens over them as well. Yes, they are painstaking and for every inch gained, we lose two more. Yes, there are casualties. For ourselves and for others. And yes, nobody believes you can really pull it off, but in the end, you shall have your vindication as did Fitz. Caruso on the Amazon? Watch and believe!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitzcarraldo,
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (DVD)The best movie I've seen, even more incredible than the true story on which it is based, a must see !
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitzcarraldo,
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (DVD)A brilliant film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski. One will never forget the hero's obsession with building an opera hall deep in the Amazon. Although the description of this product claims the stars are David Perez Espinosa and Miguel Angel Fuentes, they have only important supporting roles. This is indeed the original Herzog/Kinski movie.
5.0 out of 5 stars Towering!!,
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (Widescreen) (DVD)What can one say about this unique film experience. Herzog takes the viewer along for the great "ride" and we must pay attention.
The love of opera here is manifest in a way that is so compulsive and thereby so compelling that we have to take breaths often during this film.
All you F(x) experts can stay home and ponder your next bit of software on your bland and insufferable computers which dole out dreams as emotional as Hexadecimal!! Everything you see here is real and the passion of the vision is evident with Mr Kinski giving one of his Dr. Pretarious performances.
Hollywood bean counters and executives beware..This is a real film, this is cinema not the pap you have been shoveling the last 24 years. Finally, I would like to quote a,line by Paul Scofield in " The Train" to Burt Lancaster...and transpose the thought to those same hollywood bean counters " Letting you look at this film is like showing a " String of Pearls to an Ape"!
Fitzcarraldo a Rare film experience
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous and Monumental,
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (Widescreen) (DVD)I can safely say I have rarely seen anything approaching Werner Herzog's 1982 masterpiece "Fitzcarraldo." This opulent cinematic oeuvre about an obsessive man with a dream to build an opera house in the wilds of Peru often challenges modern American conceptions of filmmaking, namely MTV style editing and grating special effects. Clocking in at an expansive 2 1/2 hours, "Fitzcarraldo" requires patience and an appreciation for imaginative subtlety on the part of the viewer. The film certainly required patience on the part of Herzog and the cast: the movie took three years to make, and the original leads dropped out of the project (Jason Robards was one of them, who might have made an effective Fitzcarraldo when one thinks about it). One imagines hauling an enormous boat over a mountain in the Amazon had much to do with this long filming schedule. But why not use a real boat? A movie about obsession ought to indulge in it behind the scenes as well. "Fitzcarraldo" is an epic film about an epic idea. I cannot imagine any American director pulling this off even half as well.
Klaus Kinski plays Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, called Fitzcarraldo by the natives in his home base of Iquitos, Peru. Fitzcarraldo is one of those archetype figures present wherever big money rears its head, the eternal dreamer who cannot quite pull of an idea. In this case, the locale is the rich rubber producing regions in Peru and Brazil in the early part of the twentieth century. When Enrico Caruso performs in Manaus, yet another grand plan strikes Fitzcarraldo's fancy. He will build an opera house in Iquitos and have the famous Caruso perform on opening night. There is only one problem with this scheme: he isn't rich and must rely on wealthy rubber barons to foot the bill, which they are unwilling to do. A small scheme to produce ice for the local people goes nowhere, so Fitzcarraldo must secure other means to realize his dream. The answer, and for our hero there is always an answer somewhere, comes when he discovers an area of untapped rubber reserves along a river that just happens to house a tribe of dangerous Indians with a penchant for attacking outsiders. Fitzcarraldo borrows money from his girlfriend (played by the charming and beautiful Claudia Cardinale) and buys a boat from a rubber baron in order to launch an excursion. The fact that this boat must be hauled over a mountain in order to bypass a dangerous set of rapids means nothing to Fitzcarraldo. The opera house will exist no matter what the cost.
I think that gives you a good introduction to the film, and I don't really want to give away much about the river trip, the monumental task of moving the ship over the mountain, and the subsequent results of these adventures. I will say the conclusion of the film had me misty eyed with a dopey grin on my face, as Fitzcarraldo triumphs (but not in the way you might think) and therefore wins for all of those hopefuls whose dreams seem impossible. This movie is really quite affecting, with an ending I never saw coming in a million years. It is beautiful, as is the entire film. If you are in no way moved body and soul by "Fitzcarraldo," you have probably watched to many trite American films and sitcoms.
Every scene is pure eye candy. The lush atmosphere of the Amazon River basin provides the perfect backdrop for Fitzcarraldo's rambling quest. Herzog managed to hire two warring tribes of headhunters to serve as extras for the film, and these natives add an authenticity to the film in many ways. I loved the wildly expressive contortions of Kinski's hair, his coif often reflecting the inner emotions of this driven figure. Further scenes of note involve Fitzcarraldo sailing down the river blasting Enrico Caruso from a record player while he scans the riverbank with maniacal fervor, Caruso again blaring from the deck of the ship as it grinds up the side of the mountain, and Kinski banging a bell in church belfry while roaring about his opera house. I could list dozens of equally effective scenes. Herzog often lets his camera simply rest on the scenery or characters for minutes at a time, a form of cinematography that takes some getting used to in this day of fast edits and ten second commercials. I should make special mention of the soundtrack by Popol Vuh, a musical group Herzog used in several other films. Their talents lend incredible depth to "Fitzcarraldo" through vistas of sweeping arrangements that wonderfully match the expansive backdrop of the Amazon rain forests. All of these elements come together to make Herzog's film a majestic experience.
The DVD includes a trailer for the movie, text background on Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog, and a commentary by Herzog and producer Lucki Stipetic (who is apparently Werner's brother). While these extras seem rather thin for a classic of this magnitude you don't want a bunch of lesser trailers for other films, although the addition of some trailers from other Herzog films might have been nice.
"Fitzcarraldo" definitely inspires me to watch other Herzog films. Even if his other projects are only half as good as this one, they will be well worth the effort. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the nihilistic mind frame so common in today's films without realizing there are truly beautiful and inspiring works of art sitting on the shelf at the local video store. "Fitzcarraldo" is an affirmation of the beauty of running after a dream no matter what the cost.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!,
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (Widescreen) (DVD)This film is an amazing example of the power of lunacy. The story is slow, and may turn many viewers off, but if you don't mind allowing a plot to slowly meander it's way around the point, the end result is spectacular, and it's visual strength will astound you. The shot of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Fitzcarraldo) winching a gigantic steamboat up the side of a mountain in the middle of the Amazon while blasting his favorite Caruso opera from the deck in the midst of hundreds of native indians that may want to help, or may want kill him... well, it is like nothing else you have ever seen. And you don't need to suspend your disbelief, because director Werner Herzog actually did this feat live, while filming. Apparently a plot was hatched during this film to kill lead actor Klaus Kinski for Herzog, to put an end to their constant feuds and battles. It never came to fruition, but it is only one of the myths that surround this film. Documented in the film The Burden of Dreams, which I have not seen yet.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Achievement in Artful Cinema,
By A Customer
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (Widescreen) (DVD)This film, directed by Werner Herzog, is a beautiful film, that's imagery, music, and characters will stick with you. The DVD itself is of good quality, as are its extras. Klaus Kinski is magnificent, as are the other actors. I would recommend this film to people who enjoy a movie that makes them think differently about life, and can appreciate this grandiose film.
3.0 out of 5 stars not a review,
By A Customer
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (Widescreen) (DVD)For those that don't know, Fitzcarraldo was a real-life person, and he was actually Peruvian--not a foreigner. Just so you know.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Films Ever...I Was Stunned,
By A Customer
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (Widescreen) (DVD)It shocks me that I had never even HEARD of "Fitzcarraldo" a week ago (nor did I know who Werner Herzog was), and now that I've seen it I consider it to be one of the 10 best films I've ever seen in my life, right up there with "Vertigo," "Once Upon A Time In The West," and "Rashomon."
The pacing of this film is slow, languid, and dreamlike, and allows the viewer to really immerse him/herself in the brooding jungle atmosphere. I never realized how contrived most American movies felt, until I experienced the stark reality of Werner Herzog's documentary-like style. "Fitzcarraldo" blurs the line between reality and drama, utilizing actual natives in conjunction with his character-actors (including the brilliant and intense Klaus Kinski), who subject themselves to real hardships in order to lend the film legitimacy. The result feels like a cross between a surreal daydream and something out of National Geographic.
The transfer to DVD is virtually perfect. I was awestruck at the quality of the video and audio on this disc. The picture is gorgeous, in sweeping, flawless widescreen, and the sound is bright and alive. There are few extras on this disc, but the film itself was so satisfying that I didn't care.
I highly recommend the boxed set entitled "The Herzog/Kinski Collection," as it contains excellent DVD versions of all 5 of their collaborations, as well as Herzog's tribute to Kinski entitled "My Best Fiend," a fascinating portrait of their bizarre, yet intensely creative, working relationship. It will add to your appreciation of "Fitzcarraldo" and all of their films.
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Is the Most Obsessed Person?,
This review is from: Fitzcarraldo (Widescreen) (DVD)This was the big question after viewing this film. Was it the character of Fitzcarraldo played by Klaus Kinski who insisted on hauling his ship over a mountain to try and realize his dreams or Werner Herzog, the filmmaker, who insisted on doing the same so his movie would be authentic in every way? Let's just say that both men, fictitious and real, are about as obsessed as people could be and in need of the strongest OCD Rx in existence. However, the imagery is gorgeous and haunting and Kinski himself is ethereal and fleeting before us here. Is it better or worse than "Aguirre, the Wrath of God?" I can't answer that. Neither film could have been made by anyone other than the Herzog-Kinski duo and come out looking and feeling like this. I can't imagine not seeing both films and being mesmerized throughout.
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Fitzcarraldo (Widescreen) by Werner Herzog (DVD - 2002)