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  • Criterion Collection: Burden of Dreams [DVD] [1982] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Criterion Collection: Burden of Dreams [DVD] [1982] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

5 customer reviews

Price: £20.07
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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Language: English, German, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007WFYB6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,355 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 23 July 2006
Following the astonishing trail of disasters Werner Herzog faced making 'Fitzcarraldo' on location in Peru - including tribal wars, a seriously ill Jason Robards' departure after 40% of the film had been shot, one ship running aground due to low rainfalls and another obstinately refusing to move up the mountain - Les Blank's famous and once groundbreaking documentary has dated badly.

It's an excellent portrait of Herzog's obsession and the growing madness surrounding the shoot, but it's more a catalogue of catastrophes rather than a candid view of the shoot: although unused footage was shot of Kinski's tantrums, the star and director's relationship is all but ignored and you tend to get the feel of a superior travelog giving the official version (a lot of the other real crises happen offscreen). There's plenty of absurdity on view, such as prostitutes being brought to the native workers camp on the advice of the local Catholic missionary, but 'Hearts of Darkness' it ain't. But you can't help but admire the way that, unlike Fitzcarraldo, who falls prey to the dreams of the natives he thinks are working for him, Herzog manages to cling on to his dreams and ultimately triumph, incorporating each new on-set disaster into his film.

No complaints about Criterion's DVD treatment - the extended theatrical version of the documentary in a beautiful print with commentary, a new 39-minute interview with Herzog, a couple of deleted scenes that were used in Herzog's own doc 'My Best Fiend,' trailer, copious stills gallery and a book with substantial extracts from production journals. An excellent companion piece to 'Fitzcarraldo,' but it probably has less appeal to those not so interested in the film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BA Baracus on 19 May 2005
criterion have released a wonderful disc with great extras including a commentary from the film makers and Werner Herzog, a 38 minute interview with Werner Herzog conducted in 2005 and Werner eats his shoe in which the director does just that.
there are some great scenes with the indians who are naturally very suspicious of the film and its intents and this coupled with the difficult surroundings and very idea of the film would be enough to put anyone off, but Werner Herzog is not just anyone. He explains that he could have filmed it with Fox and Nicholson in America in a studio but the effect would not have been the same and he is absolutely correct, a fake plastic minature boat (a la Scorses's Cape Fear) would have looked terrible, it had to be completed with this way because the film is all about FAITH and DREAMS (hence the title Burden of Dreams).
Werner Herzog is Fitzcarraldo in some respects a man with a strange vision, a fever dream that he must complete at all costs in order to justify himself as a human being it seems and like Fitzcarraldo he succeeds in my opinion despite what the intellectuals or reviewers say.
this film however although interesting is only a snap shot of the making of the film, there was so much more going on that has been left out (as is evident in the 86 page diary of the film makers accompanying the DVD). the contents at times is also misleading and through some inventive editing it unfairly portrays Werner Herzog as an egomaniac willing to risk lives in order to complete his films. the length at 90 odd minutes is incredibly short considering the 4 year pre-production and production of the film which with all the ups and down would have given so much more great footage.
all in all it is still a great experience but the film Fitzcarraldo is much more rewarding of the two.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Anderson on 14 Jun. 2006
Les Blank's documentary is much more than just a making of Werner Herzog's FITZCARRALDO, which is what makes it important and interesting. Like Herzog's own documentaries which blur the boundaries between fact and fiction Burden of Dreams often slips into the realm of a feverish fantasy world. A world in which sanity is far less important than fulfilling dreams and which death and danger are accepted bedfellows. Often FITZCARRALDO becomes immaterial as Blank eye for local detail picks out strange images or centres on exotic looking birds or insects. It exists in a continuum of its own, precariously balanced within the bizarre politics that surrounded FITZCARRALDO'S production and also outside of this melting pot. In many ways it has outlived the film it is chronicling and instead of gratuitous shots of Klaus Kinksi raving we have shots of local customs and portentous doom laden interviews with Herzog. The film is secondary to Herzog, who comes across as driven and perhaps a little insane, affected by paranoia, he sees the jungle and creation itself as an enemy, something to be feared and loathed. He has become the apotheosis of his own movie world and myth making process, the marginalized loner, the outsider.

Unfortunately amid the excitement, we really only get Herzog's side of events and the documentary seems unduly biased in this direction. Nobody else is interviewed, which makes the film seem a little unbalanced. Despite this bias in Herzog's direction he still emerged from FITZCARRALDO and BURDEN OF DREAMS with his reputation in tatters. This is an outstanding piece of work, which shows the film-making process at its most extreme edges.

Criterion's DVD is one of their best. A superb 40 minute interview with Werner Herzog is the sets highlight, but also of note is Blank's brief documentary WERNER HERZOG EATS HIS SHOE, to have this included is a precious bonus.
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