It’s height of madness in filmmaking!!! Or else how can without any sort of tricks or special effects the director and his crew literally dragged a huge 340 tons ship on Steep Mountain in the middle of Amazon River to shoot a truthful sequence! It’s impossible task that Werner Herzog achieved as a filmmaker who often made us think hard while watching his nature of cinema. Its almost challenging film to accomplish and Herzog had took great pain for four long years to shoot the whole film on real locations of Peru and Ecuador’s jungles keeping the lives of his crew in peril.
The film is based on part real part Herzog version of story of Opera lover Fitzgerald who vows to bring opera to his remote hometown. Almost quixotically he made a plan to earn money in isolated dangerous land full of native Indians to harvest rubber and from there on fulfill his dream. The next is an obsessive journey into heart of nature. Herzog’s collaboration with actor Klaus Kinski brought some of the great German cinema and this is one of them. I just love the inscrutability of Kinski’s face and character corresponding so intimately in Herzog films. Though I like his intensity in ‘Aguirre’ better than this one; here too he brought a character full of unpredictability. Watch his expressions while playing Verdi on gramophone in the stream of river or the final scene where he returns with opera on ship and cigar on lips and you crave for more of him.
The film is undoubtedly impressive and perhaps the most popular one but at the same time it hardly come across some of the great thought provoking films that Herzog has made with Bruno S., for me ‘Stroszek’, ‘The Enigma of Kasper Hauser’ and ‘Aguirre’ are masterpieces of German Cinema. Nevertheless Herzog confessed in the book ‘Herzog on Herzog’ that it’s his too private film to appreciate as something for the public.