As much a standard-bearer for behind-the-scenes docs as Hearts of Darkness––maybe there’s something about watching famed auteurs lose their grip in the jungle––Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams cuts through much mythos and memery that’s defined Werner Herzog, burrowing deep into the making of his life-threatening (in some cases -ending) Fitzcarraldo. Whether it’s actually better than the final product is a worthwhile debate, and one that can be had in greater spirit soon: a restoration’s to be released by Argot Pictures on July 19 at Film Forum, which will also screen Fitzcarraldo, and a new trailer’s arrived.

Here’s the synopsis: “BURDEN OF DREAMS is the riveting account of the near-disastrous production of director Werner Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO, starring Klaus Kinski in the titular role and Claudia Cardinale, which traces the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. As cast members drop like flies (original lead Jason Robards Jr. became ill with dysentery and was forbidden by his doctors to return to Peru to finish filming; ship captain Mick Jagger had to leave to tour with the Rolling Stones), a prop ship is trapped in the rapids, and Herzog makes impossible demands, haranguing hundreds of native Campa, Machiguenga, and Aguaruna people to pull a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. Anchored by an as-it-was-happening interview with Herzog himself, as he details his unflinching vision for a project that took nearly five years to pull off. BURDEN OF DREAMS has endured as a fascinating––and controversial––record of the filmmaking process and a unique look into the mind of one of cinema’s most idiosyncratic and fearless directors.”

See the preview and poster below:

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