Fitzcarraldo [Blu-ray] [Édition Collector Blu-ray + DVD + Livre]
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Description du produit
Au début XXe siècle, à Iquitos, petite ville perdue au coeur de l'Amazonie, l'aventurier Brian Fitzgerald rêve de construire un opéra et d'y faire chanter le grand Caruso. Pour financer son projet, il achète pour une bouchée de pain une concession de caoutchouc réputée inaccessible. Soutenu par l'influente Molly (Claudia Cardinale), il rachète un vieux rafiot afin de démarrer l'exploitation. Mais avant de parvenir à bon port, l'équipage devra faire franchir une montagne avec le bateau...
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If you're expecting a fast-paced action adventure film with spectacular special effects and stunt action, look elsewhere. This is not an Indiana Jones movie. It may be an Adventure genre, but it's a Drama and most definitely NOT an Action film. Anyone familiar with Joseph Conrad's novella, Heart of Darkness, Herzog's previous 1972 film, Aguirre, the Wrath of God, or Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Apocalypse Now, will see parallels between the novella and all these films. While Conrad's novella combined with visual elements of Herzog's 1972 film inspired his Apocalypse Now, I don't know how much the Conrad novella set along the Congo River in Africa influenced Herzog. The story is the journey, and the arduousness of the lengthy journey. In this case it's along two rivers and winching a nearly 400 ton 1900 era iron steamship over a tall mountain separating two major Amazon tributaries. It's not about the destination, although the final few minutes provides closure to Fitzcarraldo's primary motive for moving a steamship over a mountain.
The movie is very loosely based on the real story of Carlos Fitzcarrald, who actually did portage an entire river steamship over a mountain separating two Amazon Basin rivers. Aside from that, the movie diverges considerably from the real life Carlos Fitzcarrald, a Peruvian of American descent. The film's character, Fitzcarraldo, is Irish, played by Klaus Kinski, an actor with a madman personality (very hard to deal with on set), but one that was needed for Herzog's obsession driven madman. "Fitzcarraldo" is a Spanishized "Fitzgerald" as the Peruvians had difficulty pronouncing his Irish name correctly. Herzog's character is fanatically driven by a desire to bring European culture in the form of opera into the Amazon Basin jungle being developed with plantations by the turn of the century rubber boom. His attempt to build a cross-continent railway failed in bankruptcy, so he convinces his lover to invest all her savings into a steamship and a land claim that will allow harvesting raw rubber to make him as wealthy as the other rubber plantation barons. The singular purpose is to build an opera house into which he can book European opera troupes for performances like those being done down river in Manaus. The problem is transporting the raw rubber harvested from the rubber trees from his land claim to a location where it can be exported, a claim for which he paid a sizable sum to the Peruvian government. He needs a river steamship, and it needs to be upstream from some rapids. To get one there, he takes the steamship he has bought upstream to a point where the two rivers are separated by a short distance overland where a 350 ton iron steamship scale portage can move it between the two rivers. In addition, the claim must be productively working (in this case to produce raw rubber) or he loses his rights to it. Unfortunately, the short distance is a steep mountain, but Fitzcarraldo, with a civil engineering background, is undaunted, driven by his vision for an opera house. Like his earlier Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Herzog shot the movie on location, in the Amazon Basin, in itself a magnificently arduous task, especially considering the boat winched up and down the mountain was no model. It was a very real, full-size, roughly 350 ton, river steamboat. As with his Aguirre, the film moves at a modest pace, allowing the audience to take in and absorb the lengthy river journey and the Amazon Basin's jungle wilderness. The opera house in Manaus is real, and it was built by the rubber plantation barons in the same era in which the film is set (circa 1900).
I give it 4½ stars for its production values, cinematography, screenplay, editing and the film that resulted. It's the story of a man obsessed, or perhaps a madman singularly possessed with the dream of making enough money from raw rubber to build an opera house and bring European opera to his remote region of the Amazon River Basin.
The story is a good one. Klaus Kinski, with whatever issues he had in life and rumors of issues with the making of this movie, is a good actor. He is convincing as a man on an obsessive mission and one driven to achieve what he sees is his life's work. Other reviews I've read indicate the film is too slow and plodding. To me, the cadence of the film is just right to convey the character's relentless resolve, in the face of multiple obstacles, to achieve what he sets out to do. Just like in life, one sets out to achieve a goal, chase a purpose, and maybe the achievement of that intention doesn't look exactly like the picture of the goal at the outset but, nevertheless, the goal is achieved. I found it easy to get buy into the narrative and get lost in the fictive dream of this picture.
Herzog appears to have perfected his artistic film-making style from the years doing Aguirre: The Wrath of God & Nosferatu the Vampyre, for Fitzcarraldo is immaculately filmed. Gorgeous scenery, shots of the boats, close ups showing so much emotion and turmoil. Herzog's penchant for showing natives, animals, and nature in their natural surroundings with real reactions is on full display. His cinematography is truly astounding and a wonder to look at in Fitzcarraldo.
This film utilizes its theme of opera's drama and intensity with its lush sets, real props, atmospheric music as well as operatic performances within the film itself. Herzog's diegetic sounds are audible throughout the movie. The actors bring the Peruvian jungle to life. Claudia is particularly persuasive in the first half where she is present.
Then, Klaus Kinski, as usual in Herzog's films, is the main attraction. Kinski's method acting as the totally obsessed Fitzcarraldo is utterly brilliant and hypnotic. His wild eyes view over all as all he hears is his opera. Opera is his passion and motivation. Kinski portrays this brilliantly. I understand Herzog had to deal with Klaus Kinski going nuts in the jungle in order to film this, but perhaps, it was worth it for Fitzcarraldo is Herzog's masterpiece. Kinski wants his opera house, and he will stop at nothing for that musical bliss.
I recommend seeing at least watching Fitzcarraldo for its achievement in the perseverance of making the film as well as its insane charms as a stand alone Werner Herzog piece. Art films have been filmed that are more mad, but none have been filmed with the same mad drive of Herzog to complete the one and only Fitzcarraldo.