On the Set of Burden of Dreams

A film editor I’m working with just discovered a film clip of an interview with me when i worked 6 months in the Amazon on Les Blank’s “Burden of Dreams” – about the making of Werner Herzog;s film “Fitzcarradlo” – which is about the “commercialization” of the Amazon in the 19th century.

I think you’ll enjoy it – I sure did!

I spent a lot of tine as an interpreter with the Amazon Indians who were in Herzog’s film – and because i not only spoke Spanish (and German) but had already worked with the Kogi and Guambiano tribes in Colombia as well as with the Totonacs in Mexico, so that i had an understanding of their cultures and viewpoints. There is even a sequence in “Burden Of Dreams” which shows me helping the filmmakers relate to and understand the Indian viewpoints.

That’s not in this clip, but i can lend you “Burden Of Dreams” – well worth watching as a great film – and about how and why the Amazon has changed – and especially about why we desperately need to understand how and why we are changing the environment.

Burden of Dreams (1982)

and so is Fitzcarraldo –

Fitzcarraldo (1982)

Kogi people

Guambiano

“I try not to make a big deal about the camera, to let it get between me and them. I’ve seen a lot of cameramen go in and treat the subjects like so many guinea pigs. I think the people pick up on my very protective feelings toward them, and they aren’t self-conscious about what they do or say, and they try to show the inner light about themselves that I find so attractive.”

—- Les Blank. 1979