West Germany, 1982, 158 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Werner Herzog, Not Rated, German with English subtitles, AGFA
"This iconic image (of the steamship on the mountain) demonstrates the title character’s obsession, as well as Herzog’s own struggles to conceive it. It is perhaps the pinnacle of the director’s labor, and it is arguably the most formidable and defining image of his career." —Rumsey Taylor, Slant Magazine
Werner Herzog is the reigning champ of impossible real-life adventures undertaken in the name of cinema. And this masterpiece is the romantic flipside to Aguirre, the Wrath of God — a backbreaking epic that ecstatically treads the line between a portrait of madness and a genuine expression of obsession. Fitzcarraldo fictionalizes the mad, true-life mission of South American rubber baron Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald to establish an opera house in the Peruvian jungle — which can only be accomplished by hauling a gigantic river boat over a mountain. No special effects here: this is the real deal, with the impossible results executed before your eyes.
Restoration courtesy of Shout! Factory and the American Genre Film Archive.
Werner Herzog began his filmmaking career at the young age of 19 and, over the next six decades, established himself as one of cinema's eminent directors - and among its most daring. A leader of the New German Cinema movement, with a wealth of celebrated documentaries and influential fiction features, a modest career in front of the camera, and a voice that can soothe any soul, Herzog is as intense a figure as the characters he puts on screen. Roger Ebert put it best: "[Werner Herzog] gave me a model for the film artist: fearless, driven by his subjects, indifferent to commercial considerations, trusting his audience to follow him anywhere. In the thirty-eight years since I saw my first Herzog film, after an outpouring of some fifty features and documentaries, he has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons, or uninteresting. Even his failures are spectacular."
We are pleased to present new restorations of four of Herzog's most celebrated works: Aguirre, the Wrath of God, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Nosferatu the Vampyre, and Fitzcarraldo. These four films showcase the themes he has found most enthralling throughout his prolific career: men with unusual obsessions, the futile struggle against nature, and the pursuit of images never yet seen.
A $30 series pass that grants admission for one person to all 4 films in the series is available for purchase.