Burden of Dreams

because there are
very, very strong rapids...

and you can't move a big boat
into the upper tributary.

Um, and for exploiting
an area like this...

you need a big boat
for all the logistics and transports and so.

And what he does, actually, is that
he moves in a - in a parallel tributary...

because he knows there
is one geographical point...

where the two river systems
almost join.

There's only
one or two miles in between.

And with the help of, uh,
1,100 savage Indians...

he moves the boat across the -
this mountain ridge.

But it all fails because
the Indians release the boat.

They untie it,
and it floats downstream...

and it crashes through the rapids
and everything was in vain.

And still,
with that defeat...

Fitzcarraldo is able to turn it
in some kind of a victory-

a very painful one, and...
that's basically the story of the film.
I did not know exactly
in which territory I would end up.

Basically we had to make
a geographical decision...

where we had two rivers
very, very near to each other...

with only a mountain in between.
Less than a mile apart.
And they had to be navigable as well.
So we had very, very few options...
and wherever we would end up...
I would try to get acquainted with
the native Indians in the territory itself.

In November, 1979...
Herzog builds a camp for cast and crew...
in the dense tropical rain forest
close to the Ecuadorean border.

The geography is perfect, but Herzog
has walked into the middle of a tense situation.

Twenty-five miles from here, Peru and Ecuador
are building up to a small border war.

Thejungle is full of soldiers,
and the Aguaruna Indians...

who have lived here
for hundreds of years, are touchy.

To make matters worse,
the Peruvian government...

has been encouraging settlers
to move into thejungle-

a process the Indians are powerless to stop
without legal title to the land.