2015 Dallas International Film Festival: Fitzcarraldo
Award-winning German writer/director Werner Herzog’s films are known for their epic quality. Determined to capture the truth, the fanatical director uses no camera tricks, no special effects, nothing outside the frame in front of him. Truly a labor of love, Herzog faced numerous complications during the production of Fitzcarraldo. The working environment proved hostile in more ways than one – from harsh weather and a maddening actor to violent border disputes – but nothing would stop him from completing the film.
Not unlike the director himself, Herzog’s protagonist Brian Sweenie Fitzgerald - an Irishman they call Fitzcarraldo - is also on a mission to achieve an implausible dream. Fitzcarraldo has it all figured out: he will be rich and famous as the owner of a prosperous opera house; an opera house located in the middle of the jungle. The key to achieving this impossible objective? Rubber.
Herzog’s film opens on a hint of madness that is sustained throughout the length of the film. Stopping at nothing to fulfill his fantasy, Fitzcarraldo plans to enlist the aid of some local Indians to transport his steamboat over a hill in hopes of accessing the rich rubber territory he believes awaits him on the other side of the mound.