Publisher: ECCO PRESS
Between 1979 and 1982 Werner Herzog embarked on an epic filmmaking odyssey in the inhospitable and will sapping confines of the Peruvian jungle. The outcome was the film Fitzcarraldo, most famous for an extended sequence in which the titular character played by Klaus Kinski takes advantage of tribal myths and persuades hundreds of Indians to help him drag a steamship over a mountain. Herzog insisted on performing this without the aid of special effects, fake boats or on a set - depending on your view the metaphorical significance of this act defined the visionary nature of the film or was just the folly of an unhinged megalomaniac. The difficulties the filmmakers faced is now the stuff of legend and were documented heavily in the press coverage of the time and in the documentary Burden of Dreams (1982) directed by Les Blank. But over a quarter of a century later Herzog himself has chosen to wade in with is own interpretation of the madness in the jungle, by publishing his diaries of the whole experience. Perhaps Herzog is aware that his stock has risen to its pinnacle in recent years thanks to Grizzly Man (2005) and Rescue Dawn (2006), and there does seem a bit of opportunism about publishing a book about events that are so well documented in other sources. However it soon becomes clear that Herzog’s eloquent turn of phrase and penchant for bizarre similes will afford the reader a unique experience.