Often the word, “convergence,” brings to mind the meeting of two rivers, which comes close to true in Burden of Dreams where a small mountain stands in the mile between where the rivers come closest to each other. Reliant first on sheer human strength and willpower alone, boat parts are carried over this mountain in an attempt to build an opera house miles away from civilization deep in the Amazon jungle. Eventually the documentary captures the whole of the spirit of Fitzcarraldo, and the convergence between his crew's challenge of the impossible and natives who travel the same pathways, except to shallow streambeds to gather turtle eggs. The timing of the film is critical in a territory where distrust over outsiders coming in has boiled over years and a border war is brewing between Peru and Ecuador. 

With a ship post only attached with rope when hauling a 320-ton steamship over a mountain upon the strength of 1,100 natives, it is not only deemed to fall hostage to the waters, but be fatal for those working on it. It represents the hard-earned trust filmmakers had to gain from the natives in the first place, with a past of transplanted Europeans hungry over the prospect of gold and oil. A booming rubber industry made the exploitation of resources a regular defeat and wavering degrees of distrust emanate throughout the film. 

The dense jungle territory paints that all natures are not created alike..the nature of jungle, the nature of man, the nature of war, the nature of film. The minimal mechanics of the ship shown via film offers some hope of unity: but if the nature of the jungle is literally disappearing at 8,000 square miles cut down per day, can we consider the nature of a man’s adventure if the myths and languages underfoot are literally disappearing?

In a place where tributaries are historically only traversable after flooding, Herzog states that it is the odd circumstances in this desolate location that bring out qualities in people that wouldn’t come out otherwise. I consider Campbell’s timeless perspective over all the ages of antiquity, which can also be found cradled softly in the hands of Indians. When it is overthrown relatively overnight by the hands of a few, I again consider the intimate interweaving of science and emotion. For the sheer willpower that made this feat and documentary possible didn't come from physical endurance alone. The mind is just like a muscle - the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand

Photo cred: https://www.sensesofcinema.com/2016/cteq/burden-of-dreams/

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