Burden of Dreams

Burden of Dreams

US, 1982, 95’

directed by: Les Blank

cast: Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, Mick Jagger, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards

cinematography: Les Blank

edited by: Maureen Gosling

producers: Les Blank

production: Flower Films 

festivals and awards: 

British Academy Film Awards 1983 – Robert Flaherty Award for Best Documentary

“If I abandon this project, I will be a man without dreams, and I don’t want to live like that”, said Werner Herzog while shooting Fitzcarraldo. The story about the making of the film has long become a legend. The plot is about one man's obsession to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. While on location in South American rain forests, far from civilization, the film crew encountered some of the most unbelievable and dangerous obstacles in the history of film production. Burden Of Dreams takes us behind the scenes of Fitzcarraldo and shows us Herzog's efforts to make the film without special effects, including the scene in which hundreds of Indians drag a 320-ton boat across a hill. Ready to sacrifice everything to make his vision come true, Herzog starts resembling the protagonist of his film. All of that is caught on Les Blank's camera. The result is an incredible record of a filmmaking process and a unique insight into an obsessive mission of one of the most intrepid film directors of our time.


Les Blank (1935 – 2013) He was an award-winning, independent American documentarist, known for poetic depictions of life, culture and music of people from the margins of the American society. He is best known for his film Burden Of Dreams that won him BAFTA Award for Best Documentary. His film In Heaven There Is No Beer? won Special Jury Award at Sundance.