The filming business has always been tough, but when a filmmaker has to work with an entirely different culture in an environment where his culture is not used to, the business definitely gets tougher. That’s what is shown in director Les Blank’s documentary, Burden of Dreams.
The movie shows a director (Werner Herzog) trying to make a movie of his own, but he runs into a lot of adversity. Herzog’s film, Fitzcarraldo, shows a man named Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald trying to bring an opera house to the middle of the jungle. Obviously, the story itself will have its own adversity, but the making of Fitzcarraldo had way more.
Blank did a great job of showing the struggles that occur when wealthy culture tries to work with poverty-stricken culture to make a movie. The poverty-stricken culture is used to working in the hazards of the jungle, but the wealthy culture is not. In this documentary, the audience gets a chance to see the struggles of all of this.
There was a lot of conflict between both cultures, as well as problems with the environment. All of this adversity caused the making of Fitzcarraldo to go way over the crew’s predicted schedule. However, that wasn’t even the biggest problem. Herzog felt a lot of anxiety and sadness, saying that if he believed in the devil, then he would think that the devil had been with them the whole time.
Overall, I give this move an 85 out of 100 percent. It did a great job of showing all of the conflict that happens when two cultures have to work for a goal that only benefits the wealthy culture. However, it did not show all of the frustration that the main actor had with the making of Fitzcarraldo, and that could have been a big part of the documentary.
Sam Sutton is a mass communication senior.