Fitzcarraldo

Fitzcarraldo

By far the most conventional in terms of narrative structure of the early Herzog films I've seen so far, with all the strengths and baggages that such a state comes with. A remarkable achievement of filmmaking and clear-headed in its narrative construction, but one that calls into question at every turn the very need for it to have been made.

I was reticent to write anything about Cobra Verde when I logged it for many of the same reasons as I feel compelled to write about this: whatever net moralistic victory may come from making a film about the fatalities and subjugation and exploitation of indigenous people for capital gain is undercut by exploiting an indigenous population in the making of that film, especially when a film like this is responsible for deaths and injuries to an indigenous population. Cobra Verde feels guilty of that too — never fully escaping the sense of exploitating the indigenous, the disabled, the underage while trying to critique the very means of its existence. But here, it becomes impossible to ignore knowing the circumstances behind the film, the real ways Herzog used those who made this film possible.

In the end, what use is it to move mountains — to do the impossible for a Sisyphean feat of filmmaking — when it takes this mortal toll to bring to the eyes of those complicit in that subjugation, that exploitation?

Natalie liked this review