Friday, February 15, 2019

2019: February 15th

Spending my morning with Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, aka Fitzcarraldo. This is one of the most impressive motion pictures ever made. Period. I'm planning on following up the film with a viewing of Les Blank/Michael Goodwin's The Burden of Dreams, the documentary about the making of Fitzcarraldo. If you've never seen these films, what's so amazing is this: in Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, the titular character, as played by the always brilliant Klaus Kinski, is a would-be entrepreneur in the early 20th Century Amazon with one great dream in life: to build an Opera house in Iquitos, a small city in the jungle. To fund this, Fitz's plan is to become a Rubber Baron by exploiting the one region of rubber trees still unclaimed in the area - unclaimed because the rapids in the Ucayali River that leads from the Amazon directly to the region are unnavigable. But Fitz has a plan.

The Plan: To sail upstream on the neighboring Pachitea River, then pull the boat over the narrow strip of land that separates it from the Ucayali. From there, Fitz reasons they can sail down the Ucayali into the region of rubber trees, gather his workers' yield, and haul it back up to the crossover point, it's just a matter of short trips for his steamer up the Ucayali, and the work of transporting his crop back across to the Pachitea.

But, you know, first they have to actually pull a streamliner over a mountain.

So how do you film that? Well, you have to actually do all of it. As in, Herzog had to actually pull the steamer over the land, which required blasting. The Burden of Dreams chronicles the reality of a filmmaker willing to do the same fantastic feat he requires of his fictional character. It is massive, awe-inspiring, and the very best kind of creative insanity, to say the very least.

Playlist from 2/14:

Pink Floyd - Animals
Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown
Black Sabbath - Eponymous
The Pack A.D. - Unpersons
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Mike Patton - Mondo Cane

Card of the day:

Seems to line up with my viewing this afternoon. Something this inspirational will usually help charge the batteries right before a new endeavor.

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