You are asked to write one individually researched 850-word Pitch for a moving-image project: “The Burden of Dreams”


1. The log-line.
2. Synopsis
3. Statement of Intent
4. Engagement with Prior Research
5. Conclusions and Implications
6. References

See Attached files for more details. The most important document is the one called “206015295_A2_Setting_the_Hook”. It explains how each of the 6 parts listed above should be written.


‘The Burden of Dreams”


Introduction. 2

The Log-Line. 2

Synopsis. 2

Statement of Intent. 3

Engagement with Prior Research. 4

Conclusion and Implications. 4

References. 5


The Log-Line

            The Burden of Dreams is a phenomenal full-length documentary about Werner Herzog – a German filmmaker – who is battling against frantic ordeals in the Amazon jungle during the chaotic production of his 1982 film, Fitzcarraldo.



            The documentary is a step-by-step account of the horrendous ordeals Werner Herzog goes through to satisfy his obsession to finish the shooting of his film “Fitzcarraldo” in this tormented wilderness. He perseveres through a great deal of disasters to construct the story of a poor musical show visionary – Klaus Kinski –who is putting everything on the line to build an opera house in the waterway port of Iquitos. This fixated genius endures a great deal in his quest to complete this venture; from plane accidents to heavy rainfall to assaults from hostile Indians to the loss of on-screen characters halfway through the production either through sickness or other commitments and getting caught up in the all-out border war between Peru and Ecuador around him (Blank, Gosling, Herzog, Kinski, & Laughlin,2006). The production gets even harder as Herzog is determined to shoot some of the hardest scenes without the use of models or special-effects which include pulling a 300 ton steamship over a small mountain using only muscle power. Ironically, the producer – Herzog – is going through the same ordeals that his main character in his film is supposed to undergo in his quest of building an opera house in the jungle. The documentary shows detailed accounts of how, despite all the huddles, one of cinema’s most fearless and relentless director managed to get the 1982 film – Fitzcarraldo – completed(Aitken, 2013). 

Statement of Intent

            Les Blank and his associate, Maureen Gosling capture all the events in Herzog’s production of the film making documentary is the only copy that capture the first part of the film before the two actors – Robards and Jagger – left the production either through illness or to following other commitments. Additionally, this copy also captures Herzog’s made obsession with scenes showing the producer going mad, blaming the evil jungle for the production’s and his ordeals (Blank &Bogan, 1984) There is visible strain on the men trying to pull the giant steamship uphill. The documentary also captures the initial mechanism intended for use in moving the ship – a bulldozer. The bulldozer is unable to move the ship forcing its engineer to walk away in disgust and warning of deaths should these efforts continues. Herzog’s determination pushes him to the use of muscle power after the failure of the bulldozer.

            According to New Republic’s Stanley Kauffmann, Herzog is driven by the desire to challenge nature and its oddities (Kauffmann, 1975). His argument is that for Herzog the purpose of film is to risk death evidenced by the general nature of his films where the main characters are constantly at the verge of great human achievement defying all odds to get to the achievement (2005). Herzog’s desire to challenge odds has lead him to productions in different and hostile locations like on the slopes of active volcanoes, dense jungles and in the middle of the Sahara desert. The documentary – The Burden of Dreams – is an extraordinary account and portrayal of one of Herzog’s obsessive dreams.


Engagement with Prior Research

            Timothy Corrigan in his book observes that Herzog Werner is a visually and philosophically ambitious film producer and director whose provocative and assertive films have elicited praise and criticism in equal measure (Corrigan, 2013). Corrigan argues that although his films have gained his reputation as a great producer, Herzog has been criticized for his overindulgence in romantic naivety and obsession with the thrills posed by extreme conditions in his productions. Herzog’s films are characterized by main characters’ defiance of extremely harsh and hostile condition and events to emerge victorious in their effort reach extraordinary human achievements (Corrigan, 2013; Benzine, 2013). Herzog in his quest produce a film that tests his sanity, puts his associates’ lives and his own at risk. In his obsession to portray the hardships the hero of the story had to undergo to achieve his goal, he puts all the crew into the same hardship in reality like the scene where her uses team of Indians to pull an entire steamship uphill using only blocks and tackles.

Conclusion and Implications

            The Burden of Dreams documentary by Les Blank has two factors making it one of the best documentaries ever made about the making of a motion picture. First, ‘Fitzcarraldo’ by Werner Herzog as the movie being made, was produced and directed by one of the most fearless and obsessive filmmakers in cinema at the time therefore its production took place in the middle of the Amazon jungle, one of the most dangerous and hostile location in film while using the least of improvisations like special-effects or machinery. The other factor is that Les Blank, the director and producer of the documentary is also an established filmmaker himself therefore asked the right questions of Herzog while filming the treacherous conditions experienced in the production.        


Aitken, I., (2013). The Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film. London: Routledge. p. 120. 

Benzine, A., (2013). “Hot Docs to honour Blank”. Playback. Brunico Communications. Retrieved 8 April 2013.

Blank, L., &Bogan, J., (1984). Burden of Dreams: screenplay, journals, reviews, photographs. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. p. 86.

Blank, L., Gosling, M., Herzog, W., Kinski, K., & Laughlin, C. (2006). Burden of dreams. Sydney: Shock.

Blank, L., Herzog, W., Kinski, K., & Cardinale, C. (2006). Burden of Dreams (1982).Anchor Bay, CA: Heinemann.

Corrigan, T., (2013). The Films of Werner Herzog:Between Mirage and History.New York, NY: Routledge.P. 3 -22.

Kauffmann, S. (1975). Living images: Film comment and criticism. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

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