Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, José Lewgoy, Miguel Angel Fuentes, Paul Hittscher
A major filmmaking accomplishment that only Herzog would have the audacity to attempt, Fitzcarraldo stars Klaus Kinski as the title character, a dreamer who plans to bring opera and Enrico Caruso to the South American jungles.
With limited funding he decides to finance an opera house by capitalising on South America's rubber industry. He discovers a hidden forest of rubber trees well protected by rapids but the only way to get there is via a river on the other side of a small group of mountains. Fitzcarraldo has a bizarre inspiration: he'll hire local natives to pull his steamship over the mountain – 320 tons up a 40-degree incline.
The hauling of the boat is the poetic and symbolic heart of the film and no camera trickery is used in its filming. This is a real steamship being hauled over a real mountain – all at the command of Herzog, a man as driven in his way as his most obsessed heroes.
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