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Burden of Dreams (1982) Poster

Quotes

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Werner Herzog: [On the jungle] Kinski always says it's full of erotic elements. I don't see it so much erotic. I see it more full of obscenity. It's just - Nature here is vile and base. I wouldn't see anything erotical here. I would see fornication and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival and... growing and... just rotting away. Of course, there's a lot of misery. But it is the same misery that is all around us. The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I don't think they - they sing. They just screech in pain. It's an unfinished country. It's still prehistorical. The only thing that is lacking is - is the dinosaurs here. It's like a curse weighing on an entire landscape. And whoever... goes too deep into this has his share of this curse. So we are cursed with what we are doing here. It's a land that God, if he exists has - has created in anger. It's the only land where - where creation is unfinished yet. Taking a close look at - at what's around us there - there is some sort of a harmony. It is the harmony of... overwhelming and collective murder. And we in comparison to the articulate vileness and baseness and obscenity of all this jungle - Uh, we in comparison to that enormous articulation - we only sound and look like badly pronounced and half-finished sentences out of a stupid suburban... novel... a cheap novel. We have to become humble in front of this overwhelming misery and overwhelming fornication... overwhelming growth and overwhelming lack of order. Even the - the stars up here in the - in the sky look like a mess. There is no harmony in the universe. We have to get acquainted to this idea that there is no real harmony as we have conceived it. But when I say this, I say this all full of admiration for the jungle. It is not that I hate it, I love it. I love it very much. But I love it against my better judgment.

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Werner Herzog: If I abandon this project, I would be a man without dreams and I don't want to live like that. I live my life or I end my life, with this project.

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Werner Herzog: [asked about his next plans] I shouldn't make movies anymore.

[chuckles]

Werner Herzog: I should go to a lunatic asylum right away.

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Werner Herzog: It's not only my dreams, my belief is that all these dreams are... are yours as well... and the only distinction between me and you is that I can articulate them... and that is what poetry or painting or literature or film-making is all about, it's as simple as that... and I, I make films because I have not learned anything else and I know I can do it to a certain degree... and it is my duty because this might be the inner chronicle of what we are... and we have to articulate ourselves otherwise we would be cows in the field.

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Narrator: Herzog is stranded in the jungle with a 300 ton steam ship that won't move and time is running out. He needs money to move the ship but no one would invest unless the ship moves first.

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Werner Herzog: I'm running out of fantasy. I don't know what else can happen now.

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Narrator: The Amazon jungle is disappearing fast. Every month, 8,000 square miles are cut down. At the present rate, by the year 2010 the entire Amazon basin will be cleared.

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"Wilbur": And, therefore, since I can't prove a lover, to entertain this farewell spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days.

"Fitzcarraldo": Wilbur, you are definitely my man!

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"Fitzcarraldo": We want the Opera in Iquitos!

"Wilbur": We want the Opera in Iquitos!

"Fitzcarraldo": We need Opera here!

"Wilbur": We need the Opera in Iquitos!

"Fitzcarraldo": Don't you want music in your souls? Come an join us!

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José Lewgoy: To act in front of a camera gives me physical pleasure. That's when I get myself realized. Otherwise, I would be a bank manager.

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Werner Herzog: In this case we will probably have one of the last feature films with authentic natives in it. They are fading away very quickly and its a catastrophe and a tragedy that's going on and we are losing riches and riches and riches and we lose cultures and individualities and languages and mythologies and we'll be stark naked at the end. We'll end up like all the cities in the world now with skyscrapers and a universal kind of culture like - like the American culture.

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Werner Herzog: I don't want to live in a world where there are no lions anymore. Or, where there are no people like lions.

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Narrator: As Herzog puts it, "Everyday life is only an illusion, behind which lies the reality of dreams."

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Film Crew Interviewer: Were you afraid of the gringos when you came here?

Young Campas Native Woman: No, I wasn't afraid, because I understood what they were doing. My friend Walter told me it was all lies.

Film Crew Interviewer: What did they tell you? That the gringos would take off your face?

Young Campas Native Woman: Yes, they'll take off your face and use your fat for airplanes.

Miguel Ángel Fuentes: We're not like the Jivaros who shrink heads this small.

[laughs]

Young Campas Native Woman: I told him I'd rather get out of here before they do that to me. When my friends arrived and saw the camps, they were really afraid. I told them, "Don't be afraid." They said "They're all just waiting to kill us." "No, no, they've been waiting for you." Atalaina told them, "The doctor will give you an injection and take your blood and put poison in your veins. You'll die by the time you get back to your village." They were so afraid.

Miguel Ángel Fuentes: It's not true.

Young Campas Native Woman: And, "Don't eat too much of what they offer. They give you this much. Don't eat it all, because they'll fatten you up to kill you."

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Young Campas Native Man: [singing] The women were getting madder and madder, As the men got drunk on masato, The men said "Why don't you drink with us?" So the women drank some too, They felt so good they wanted some loving, But the men were so drunk they couldn't.

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Narrator: The Indians agree to make a few bows and arrows for Kinski. They accept his payment of $3.50 an arrow - the equivalent of a full day's wage. To the Indians, who can make 20 arrows in a day, this probably seems like an extreme overpayment. Until they have to pay the same 3.50 for a single Polaroid photo taken by one of the Peruvian workers.

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Werner Herzog: If I believed in the devil I would say the devil is right here and is still right here. It becomes very questionable because people have lost their lives, people have been in a plane crash and five of them in critical condition one of them paralyzed. And those are all the costs you have to pay. It could have hit me or anyone and one starts to question the profession itself.

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