Triple features for the resilient, the dreamy and the popcorn-laden. This one’s a bit heavy, so save the whiskey until the second flick, when you’ll really start needing it.
Today’s theme: “Messianic Obsessions and the Burdens of Friendship”. What I’m saying is: Werner Herzog.
“Fitzcarraldo“: Werner Herzog’s film about one man’s quest to build an opera house in the middle of the Peruvian rainforest. Almost like watching a myth in the making. More resources here. Either a masterpiece or a huge jerk-off on celluloid. I think it’s a little of both, but I think even Herzog’s failures are so filled with strange visions that I’ll forgive him a lot. He’s in a class of his own.
(Also a great double feature with the even better “Aguirre: Wrath of God“, also by Werner Herzog, also with Klaus Kinski, also filmed on the Amazon, also about a messianic obsessive. This time, Kinski’s a mad Spanish conquistador. A dreamy, fucked-up masterpiece.)
“My Best Fiend” – Herzog’s documentary about his passionate friendship/murderous animosity with frequent collaborator, the brillantly demented Klaus Kinski. A bit unfair, as Herzog gets the last word in here. You’ll have to go to Kinski’s infamously pornographic, bile-spewing autobiography for his side of the story.
“Burden of Dreams” – Les Blank’s documentary about “Fitzcarraldo”. Herzog’s uncompromising fanatacism is a fair match for his subject’s and as epic and engrossing. Plus, rare clips of erstwhile stars Jason Robards and Mick Jagger before they dropped out of the production. An astounding look at a messianic obsessive making a movie about a messianic obsessive. You can also read Derek Malcolm’s appreciation here.
Bonus crowd-pleasing short:
“Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe” – Again by Les Blank. The title is pretty self-explanatory – that’s what happens. Back in the 70’s, Herzog was apparently pals with an aspiring filmmaker named Errol Morris. Maybe you’ve heard of him? Herzog said that if Morris managed to get a film made, he’d… And he does. Boiled, with salt. Just 22 minutes. Surely, you can stay up for this.
You can check out some clips of the underappreciated Les Blank’s work here.
Any ideas for a Fantasy Triple Feature? Drop me a line at annie at maudnewton dot com.