Ever tried manually pulling a 320-ton steamship from, say, the middle of your backyard to the edge of your deck? That would be really, really difficult, and we're guessing the answer is "hell no." Okay, now imagine trying to pull said 320-ton, full-size vessel over a small mountain in the Amazon jungle. At this point most of us would excuse ourselves and take a fast detour to more manageable challenges, like selecting the right beer from the hundreds available at the grocery store. Werner Herzog is not like most of us. The German director had been filming Fitzcarraldo in the Amazon for four-plus years; he prolonged the agonizing production by refusing to rely on any models or special effects -- hence the titanic feat of schlepping the ship over the mountain, which was the challenge of the title character. Documentary film master Les Blank filmed the torturous process; the result is Burden of Dreams, a film about the challenges of filmmaking. Burden of Dreams screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday (July 19 through 21) at Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 www.webster.edu/filmseries). Tickets are $5 to $6.
July 19-21, 2013