Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo
Anyway, let me conclude with a correction. A fortnight ago, I suggested the movie disaster Brexit was most like was Heaven’s Gate, simply because that notorious flop effectively collapsed a studio much in the way this crisis is threatening to collapse the UK. But I have since wondered whether the most closely analogous flop is Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo (don’t worry, you needn’t have seen it), which even its director came to see as “the conquest of...more
But I also kinda wish that I had those visions in my head that had to come out in words and images. I've not felt the kind of righteous rightness that burdened me to create. Maybe that's why I almost never remember my dreams...
Fucking crazy stuff. I loved it. Like the rest of lif ...more
Naturally, such an idea is madness on the face of it. But Herzog did it, and the result is a film production that will continue to amaze people as long as films are being wat ...more
I've seen My Best Fiend, Herzog's documentary about his relationship with Klaus Kinski, which contains a lot of footage of the making of Fitzcarraldo, the ship-hauling movie. Reading his diaries from the m ...more
As Werner Herzog tells us in his preface, this book is not a collection of "reports on the actual filming," and it is not a journal, "except in a very general sense." He refers to it as "inner landscapes, born of the delirium of the jungle," but then says that he's not sure if that's really it either. The book covers the period from June 1979 through November 1981 during the making of Fitzcarraldo and while it is filled with some of the struggles he endure ...more
But in the film the geography has to be visible: two rivers that almost touch, with only a mountain ridge between them, over which the ship has to be hauled. Without that understanding the point of the story is lost says Herzog.
In the jungle things can go wrong and everything that could go wrong did, in Herzog's case. And people kept asking him, why can't we ditch the scene with the ship or fake it at least? And he replies, because there is a metaphor there, without this metaphor there is no fil ...more
I feel that it is a fairly safe statement that never has a film production been so fraught by so many factors: political hurdles, extortionate local bureaucrats, wars between indiginous tribes, plane crashes, torrential down pours, drought, dried up funding, drunken extras, drunken crew, drunken actors, snakes, seperate media circuses involving Mick Jagger and Claudia Cardinale, snakes, and Klaus Kinski, to name just ...more
He also did this one film few people have heard of, Fitzcarraldo. During the filming of that movie in South America, Herzog kept a journal of his everyday experiences. Later he turned those recollections into a book, Conquest of the Useless. Santa loves me and gave it to me for Christmas, so it's ...more
I responded, half jokingly, that our prayers resembled intense comments directed into a darkened room from which no answer came and which we had to assume was completely empty, not even occupied by a large, taciturn guy on a throne, who might be able to hear us but did not even bestow on us so much as an echo from the void, other than the echo of our stupid hopes and our self-deception. After I had got that off my chest, we laughed and had a beer.
A mad diary of the making of Fitzcarraldo, but ...more
Two great things about *Conquest of the Useless*
1) Werner Herzog writes exactly the same way he talks, so it's no trouble at all to imagine him personally reading this book to you in that trademark flat Bavarian drawl. It would make the perfect accompaniment to a midnight road trip through a Louisiana bayou where you ran out of gas, sank into mud up to your wheel wells, were bitten by several cottonmouth moccasins and then had your throat slashed by swamp-dwelling sociopaths. Werner Herzog would ...more
This book covers a lot of ground. It's some descriptive logging of daily work on a film set, but it's much much more. Many ent ...more
But Herzog is an engaging diarist and a witty observer, and in short, this is the diary of a madman. Venture with cast and crew i ...more
Ok, I have finishe ...more
The beginning of my summer job and an increase in my duties as a journal editor dovetailed at the beginning of June. Unfortunately, I was only able to get through one book! How pathetic! I should have much more free time in the month of July, so hopefully I can make up on my reading deficit . . . Now, onto the ACTUAL review.
The title of this books says it all. These are Werner Herzog's journal entries from his time filming Fitzcarraldo. Of c ...more
Despite this singular quest, film pro ...more
Me too dude, me too.
Perhaps it's because I'm a city girl, but Herzog's vision of natur ...more
He is often associated with the German New Wave movement (also called New German Cinema), along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders and others. His films often feature heroes with impossible dreams, or people with unique talents in obscure fields ...more