Even if “Fitzcarraldo” is all about an Irishman played by Klaus Kinski trying to haul a steamship over a mountain, it’s just as much about Herzog himself doing the same thing because to film the hauling of a steamship over a mountain he literally filmed the hauling of a steamship over a mountain. And so when you watch “Burden of Dreams” chronicling all this, it becomes difficult to even tell them apart, where fantasy ends and reality begins, perhaps because it’s simply both simultaneously. “It’s only the dreamers who ever move mountains,” says Herzog. “If I abandon this project, I would be a man without dreams and I don't want to live like that,” says Fitzcarraldo. Or is it the other way around?
That’s why I cherish this shot. His back is to the camera, looking off toward the dreamer’s steamship, perched, nearing glory, but not quite there. We can’t see his face. Whose face? Does it matter?