One of cinema’s grandest and most jaw-dropping epic adventures, Herzog’s stunning tale of obsession, madness and opera houses blurs the lines between fiction and reality to unleash a spectacle unlike any other.

“It’s a stunning spectacle, an adventure-comedy not quite like any other, and the most benign movie ever made about 19th-century capitalism running amok.” – Vincent Canby, New York Times

In Fitzcarraldo, Herzog’s go-to madman, Klaus Kinski, portrays the title character, Fitzcarraldo – an obsessed rubber baron and opera lover who dreams of building an opulent opera house in the heart of the Amazon rain forest.   Naturally, this proves to be a dream plagued with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.   With the help of a tribe of indigenous people bewitched by the voice of the great singer Enrico Caruso, Fitzcarraldo battles the unpredictable weather, constant illness and suffocating heat to achieve the impossible – hauling an enormous, 300 ton river boat over a mountain, in hopes of accessing the rich rubber territory he believes awaits him on the other side.   Like his title character, Herzog reached an ambitious pinnacle of achievement here – the overwhelmingly impossible odds that seem to weigh against Fitzcarraldo ever reaching his goal were mirrored by the director’s own obsessive attempts to complete the film and achieve his own implausible dream.  Determined to capture the truth, the fanatical filmmaker used no camera tricks, no special effects and nothing outside the frame in front of him – facing down everything from harsh weather to border disputes to an infamously maddening lead actor – in order to metaphorically drag his film over the mountain.   With Fitzcarraldo, Herzog (who was awarded the Best Director award at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival), managed not only to create a truly memorable cinematic experience, but also to cement his reputation as an unmatchable (and often outlandish) visionary. (Dir. by Werner Herzog, 1982, Germany, in German with subtitles, 158 mins., Rated PG)