Saturday, October 3, 2009

Review of Conquest of the Useless: Reflections on the Making of Fitzcarraldo by Werner Herzog

Conquest of the Useless Conquest of the Useless by Werner Herzog

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First there was a dream about hauling a boat over a mountain, then there was the story Fitzcarraldo to male that dream a solid thing, then there was the film, during which a documentary was made (which is better than the film, story or dream) during which this journal was written and in it you might find the grander meaning of Werner Herzog: romance nothing; ebrace everything.

This book is exhausting because all the corrosive forces at play: the oppressive jungle, the people oppressed by the jungle and other people, the impossible movie about a half baked idea, money, ego, hero worship, snakes, giant frogs, madness and, if just to put all that in perspective, the vortex of violent humanity that is Klaus Kinski. There is no embracable point to it all because there is no point to anything and through that we are free, just as long as we remain loyal to our dreams and can ignore the siren song of a point.

With it's constant stream of detail without the farce of connecting it reflects the jungle that its most powerful character where one tiny square has as much detail as the whole, the same mass of meaning. I'm not saying I suscribe to Herzog's heroic form of nihilism, maybe only because I'm too weak to accept it's cold realities, but my head feels a little cleaner having gone as far on this foolish quest as one can in a book and a movie and a movie about a movie and then a book about it all. I can't wait until he makes a movie about the publication of this book.

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