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October 6, 2008 | by  | in Film | [ssba]


The theme of ‘man alone’ is portrayed so perfectly that it brings a tear to the eye. There are few films that carry a theme as well as Fitzcarraldo does.

tells the story of one man against the world. Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, also known as Fitzcarraldo, is a man with dreams. Klaus Kinski brings the intensity to the role that the movie demands. His focus is singular, sublime. In order to raise enough funds to bring the opera to Peru, he develops an elaborate scheme to get to an area of rainforest where the rubber trees have never been harvested. The problem: as the area is up a river past impenetrable rapids, he needs to carry his ship over a mountain. A retelling of the myth of Sisyphus endlessly pushing a rock up a hill. An impossible task.

The focus of the movie throughout is on Fitzcarraldo himself. The second most important character is the setting in which the film is set. This movie is a battle, and only one can win.

What’s amazing, is that he does it. Most of the movie is devoted to how he achieves this. It is the struggle of man. The world itself is against him, and he is triumphant. Humanity, asserts his dominance over nature.

And achieves nothing from it. Through a freak coincidence, Fitzcarraldo’s ship crashes down the rapids before he can tap the rubber trees he was crossing the mountain to get to. Miraculously, he survives. Having conquered the world, he has absolutely nothing to show for it. Nothing has been lost, but nothing has been gained. From the most amazing achievement in history.

Fitzcarraldo is the greatest metaphorical movie I have ever seen. It is the human condition. And it’s really, really good.

Directed by Werner Herzog


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