Release Year: 1982
Director: Werner Herzog
Writer: Werner Herzog
Starring: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, José Lewgoy,
Rating: Nominated for 1 Golden Globe: Best Foreign Film. Won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. Nominated for the Palme d’Or.
Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Klaus Kinski) is a very determined man set about realising his dream of building an opera house in the middle of the jungle.
This 1982 German film was the second to last collaboration out of many between two legends of German cinema: Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski. Herzog (Rescue Dawn, 2006), the Munich born director, producer, actor, and documentary filmmaker, delivers an unsual story about Fitzcarraldo, an opera-loving eccentric who wants to stage an opera in the middle of the Amazon jungle, where he runs a company, in order to invite his favourite singer, Caruso, to perform. Kinski (Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht, 1979) is excellent as the titular character and makes good use of his expressive face, which lends itself well to this sort of film that works best in the scenes with little dialogue. This is partly due to the fact that Herzog here manages to strike certain moods very well, but mainly because the synchronisation is terrible and really detracts from the film. As few of the cast and crew spoke German, the film was shot in English and then later dubbed rather poorly into German. This was of course necessary to do when one insists of shooting a German language film in a country where hardly anyone speaks German, it is only a shame it was not done better. The majority of the film takes place on a riverboat in hostile territory an the film is best in the scenes in which our main players interact with the local population, in a film that is oddly enough more about culture clash than opera or art in general. An unsual and good film that could, however, easily have been shorter. Recommended to fans of Herzog and/or Kinski.
Klaus Kinski was a major source for tension on set to such a degree that a one of the native chieftains offered Werner Herzog to kill Kinski for him.
Picture Copyright: DBC medier