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BURDEN OF DREAMS Restoration Trailer: Les Blank’s BTS Look of Werner Herzog’s ‘Fitzcarraldo’ Gets the 4K Treatment

Werner Herzog in Les Blank's BURDEN OF DREAMS

If you thought Heart of Darkness gave you a hard enough look into the challenges of making a masterpiece of cinema in the jungle, try experiencing the frenzied making of Werner Herzog’s 1982 epic Fitzcarraldo. Iconic documentary filmmaker Les Blank’s documentary Burden of Dreams chronicled the experiences of Herzog, his cast, and crew as they tried to survive a troubled production that involved carrying a 320-ton steamship up a hill – among many other things. A 4K restoration of the documentary is set to be released by Argot Pictures on July 19 at Film Forum, which will also screen Fitzcarraldo. An official trailer has now arrived, courtesy of Argot Pictures.

Here’s the synopsis:

BURDEN OF DREAMS is the riveting account of the near-disastrous production of director Werner Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO, starring Klaus Kinski in the titular role and Claudia Cardinale, which traces the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. A-list cast members drop like flies (original lead Jason Robards Jr. became ill with dysentery and was forbidden by his doctors to return to Peru to finish filming; ship captain Mick Jagger had to leave to tour with the Rolling Stones), a prop ship is trapped in the rapids, and Herzog makes impossible demands, haranguing hundreds of native Campa, Machiguenga, and Aguaruna people to pull a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. Anchored by an as-it-was-happening interview with Herzog himself, as he details his unflinching vision for a project that took nearly five years to pull off. BURDEN OF DREAMS has endured as a fascinating––and controversial––record of the filmmaking process and a unique look into the mind of one of cinema’s most idiosyncratic and fearless directors.

Check out the restoration trailer and poster below.

Burden of Dreams 4K Restoration Poster


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M.J. O'Toole began writing for HtN in early 2021 during the Sundance Film Festival. An NYC native and lifelong cinephile, his favorite films include Chungking Express, The Three Colors Trilogy, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Lovers on the Bridge, and Midnight Cowboy. He is the Digital Marketing Manager for the agency 3rd Impression - working alongside Editor-at-large Matt Delman - that specializes in digital marketing for independent film. He holds a BA from Adelphi University and a Masters in Digital Photography from the School of Visual Arts. You can check out his portrait and street photography on Instagram.

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