Conquest of the Useless
Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo
Publication Date: June 2009
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One of the most revered filmmakers of our time, Werner Herzog wrote this diary during the making of Fitzcarraldo, the lavish 1982 film that tells the story of a would-be rubber baron who pulls a steamship over a hill in order to access a rich rubber territory. Later, Herzog spoke of his difficulties when making the film, including casting problems, reshoots, language barriers, epic clashes with the star, and the logistics of moving a 320-ton steamship over a hill without the use of special effects.
Hailed by critics around the globe, the film went on to win Herzog the 1982 Outstanding Director Prize at Cannes. Conquest of the Useless, Werner Herzog's diary on his fever dream in the Amazon jungle, is an extraordinary glimpse into the mind of a genius during the making of one of his greatest achievements.
Krishna Winston, professor and chair of the German Studies Department in the Wesleyan University, is the principal English-language translator for the works of the Nobel Prize-winning German author Gunter Grass, she also translated Peter Handke's "Don Juan".