Sunday, October 29, 2006
If it weren't for restless dreamers mankind would never have escaped the first valley we inhabited on some desolate African plain. Timidity and comfort would have kept everyone in the same place until they croaked. Some far-out adventurous furry Lucy precursor decided to get out of that antediluvian Dodge and forge his or her own path, liberating us from an untimely fate. I imagine those first steps over the horizon as just as frightening as any journey of discovery taken since. I've always admired sinful Eve far more than simpleton Adam. She wanted change and acted; he would have sat in Paradise naming animals forever.
Werner Herzog of course specializes in dreamers in his documentaries and fiction films. Here we have Klaus Kinski as Fitzcarraldo, an Irish-German Enrico Caruso fanatic who wants to build a fortune in order to construct an opera house way the fuck up the Peruvian Amazon. In order to do so he devises an insane scheme to cut through the jungle and lift a steamship over a mountain. Herzog and company actually do so, deforesting a nifty patch along the way, with the participation of the local Jivaros (about whom I've read much of late). Fitzcarraldo gets the important part of his dream, and Kinski as always is excellent at imagining the highs and lows of such a being. A must-see.