"If I abandon this project I would be a man without dreams And I don't want to live like that I live my life or I end my life with this project."
-Werner Herzog on his film Fitzcaraldo
Les Blank's Burden of Dreams is the perfect companion to Herzog's body of work. It creates an analogy between Herzog's own determination to complete his Fitzcaraldo with many of his characters: Fitzcaraldo who tries to build an opera house in the Amazon jungle, Strozek who launches a fireworks assault against the sun... They don't seem crazy so much, not anymore. Blank's film has humanized them, somehow. Seeing Herzog so earnest and sincere about his own extremities somehow reflects back on to his own films. It's not insanity that seems to drive them to extremities (Herzog and his characters), but a slipping dream, an overwhelming sanity.
Cullen Gallagher is a Brooklyn-based writer, musician, and curator whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Life Sentence, Moving Image Source, Bright Lights Film Journal, Beat to a Pulp, NoirCon, Crimefactory, Film Comment, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Fandor, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, Hammer to Nail, Spinetingler, Between Lavas, Reverse Shot, and Guitar Review. He records instrumental music as Modern Silent Cinema and plays in the hardcore band Night Squad.