Fitzcarraldo and his boat

The “conquistador of the useless” is how Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald – known by the Peruvian locals as Fitcarraldo – is described at one point in Werner Herzog’s fourth collaboration with actor Klaus Kinski. It helps, watching this mad epic conceived on the grandest of scales, to remember that Herzog often described himself that way too. The story is as big as the character of Fitzcarraldo, an obsessive opera-lover with a string of failures behind him, like the Trans-Andean railway that never went anywhere, or the ice-making business with not enough demand for ice locally to make success a possibility. As Herzog raises the curtain, Fitzcarraldo’s latest plan is to build an opera house … Read more