Fitzcarraldo, Realism and the Heroic

December 19, 2017

Watching Werner Herzog’s, “Fitzcarraldo,” operatic and heroic in a Teutonic sense, in which Klaus Kinski’s character leads a motley crew and an Amazonian tribe to hack out of the jungle a channel over which they haul a ship over a mountain. Shooting the movie was as heroic!
What struck me was this dialog, inasmuch as it might be considered an unintentional comment on realism (my bugbear). I am not surprised to know that Herzog, who despises cinema verité, wrote the script.
Of his experience with the river, the ship captain says to Fitzcarraldo, “My eyesight isn’t so good, but I cannot be fooled. The jungle plays tricks on your senses. It’s full of lies, demons, illusions. I have learned to tell the difference between reality and hallucinations.”

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Wyntner Woody