Les Blank

Burden of Dreams

Burden of Dreams

For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete one of the most ambitious and difficult films of his career, Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank captured the unfolding of this production, made more perilous by Herzog’s determination to shoot the most daunting scenes without models or special effects, including a sequence requiring hundreds of indigenous Peruvians to pull a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. The result is an extraordinary document of the filmmaking process and a unique look into the single-minded mission of one of cinema’s most fearless directors.

Film Info

  • Les Blank
  • United States
  • 1982
  • 95 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  • Spine #287

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by director Les Blank, editor and sound recordist Maureen Gosling, and Fitzcarraldo director Werner Herzog
  • Dreams and Burdens, a new thirty-eight-minute interview with Herzog
  • Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980), a twenty-minute film by Blank featuring Herzog fulfilling a bet
  • Deleted scenes
  • Photo gallery of images taken by Gosling
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • Plus: An essay by film scholar Paul Arthur


Cover illustration by Richard May, design by Martin Ogolter

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by director Les Blank, editor and sound recordist Maureen Gosling, and Fitzcarraldo director Werner Herzog
  • Dreams and Burdens, a new thirty-eight-minute interview with Herzog
  • Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980), a twenty-minute film by Blank featuring Herzog fulfilling a bet
  • Deleted scenes
  • Photo gallery of images taken by Gosling
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • Plus: An essay by film scholar Paul Arthur


Cover illustration by Richard May, design by Martin Ogolter

Burden of Dreams
Cast
Werner Herzog
Klaus Kinski
Claudia Cardinale
Jason Robards
Mick Jagger
Credits
Director
Les Blank
Sound
Maureen Gosling
Editing
Maureen Gosling
Producer
Les Blank
Cinematography
Les Blank
Interpreting, interviewing, and camera assisstance
Bruce "Pacho" Lane
Interviewing and camera and sound assistance
Michael Goodwin
Narration written by
Michael Goodwin
Narration spoken by
Candace Laughlin
Editing assistance and office management
Chris Simon
Research
Chris Simon
Translations
Francisca Wentworth
Research
John Lumsdaine
Translations
Inez Reider
Translations
Richard Becker

From The Current

Werner Herzog on Les Blank
Werner Herzog on Les Blank
There are few greater admirers of the late documentarian Les Blank than the legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog. (The two were already close when Blank filmed the making of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo for Burden of Dreams.) So we knew we wanted to t…
Werner’s World
Werner’s World

The subject of a career retrospective on the Criterion Channel, this risk-taking, death-defying visionary of the New German Cinema makes movies that are forces of nature.

By Michael Atkinson

Walking with Werner Herzog
Walking with Werner Herzog
In November of 1974, German filmmaker Werner Herzog began walking from Munich to Paris. He had just learned that his friend and mentor, the film historian Lotte Eisner, was gravely ill and had been hospitalized in Paris, and Herzog decided to make th…