At that moment, he was a god - Herzog and his "boat on land"

Demarcus 2022-09-17 18:07:07

I became more and more unsure of my own memory, because I found that many plots in the movie had become blurred, and I even forgot why he did it, but only that scene was clear and deeply etched in my mind.

I will always remember that moment. After watching a movie for a day, my brain was a little numb, but with the appearance of that scene, my spirit was also lifted, and I couldn't help shouting "It's great! It's really great~~~ ~" I want to keep repeating this sentence, because it can represent my mood at that time. Watching the tens of tons of behemoth being pulled to the top of the mountain little by little, I felt that at that moment, he was a god.

Germany is really a magical country, there are so many crazy and great people born there, including the crazy Hitler. In terms of film, there are also many talents. As early as the silent film period, there were masters such as Franz Lang and Murnau. And then the new German film four masters further spread German films.

As one of the Four Great Masters, Herzog may not be the best in terms of artistic attainments. But he must be the craziest and the greatest. This paranoid guy uses the film as a platform to show his performance art show after performance.

As early as "Aguirre, God's Wrath", I had already experienced Herzog's madness, and I couldn't help but marvel at the big iron cannon moving slowly in the mud of the tropical rainforest. But when it comes to "Boat on Land", what needs to be moved is the 30-ton, three-story high iron ship.

Fitzcarrador, the protagonist of "Overland Boat", is a paranoid fantasist. For various reasons, he intends to let his large iron ship weighing dozens of tons cross the mountains and reach the river beyond the mountains. And all this power, in addition to a small amount of mechanical help, is more relying on pulleys and manpower. And when you see this group of ragged Indians really pull this behemoth and finally pull it to the top of the mountain, you will understand what it means to be great!

There's an equally crazy story behind the crazy Overland Boat. Fantasia documents the making of this crazy film, and it also gives us a little more insight into Herzog, a director as crazy and great as the protagonist Fitzcarrador.

The greatness of the film lies in the fact that the director rejected other people's suggestions for filming on the set, and completely used live shooting. The location has been changed several times, and finally he chose a small place on the border of Peru, which is not only sparsely populated and has a harsh natural environment, but also accompanied by local Indians. The tribal war, like the protagonist, chooses there, and also chooses to face more difficulties and dangers. Unlike the protagonist, the dangers and difficulties of the protagonist are in the movie, and the dangers and hardships that the director has to face are indeed real.

In a film that lasted for nearly 5 years, three male protagonists have been used successively. During filming, first due to the local clan wars and fear and rejection of them, the final crew had to fly white flags on their boats and fled there, while their filming camp was burned. It was also troublesome after that, when one of the big boats used for the shoot ran aground due to a rare drought in the area. In addition, due to a shooting accident, one Indian was killed, five people were in a coma, one of them was paralyzed.

In this case, the director still insisted on choosing the shooting camp in a barren area not close to the town, because he believed that only an isolated and closed environment would be more conducive to the performance of the actors.

At the same time, the director refused to divide the boat into many small parts to carry over the mountain. He insisted on choosing the whole boat to cross the mountain, because he felt that this could truly represent the core meaning of his film. He even rejected the engineer's suggestion to change the slope from 40 degrees to 20 degrees, and he didn't want his boat to traverse as flat as it would in a canal.

40-degree slope, 30-ton iron boat, about 1 km away. These are just the questions that Herzog needs to face in terms of data, and in reality, many of his actors and colleagues have chosen to leave the crew because of the madness and inability to shake the confidence of this move. And his producers refused to give him more money to shoot because of his crazy ideas. And the hired Indians became irritable and restless from being away from home for too long and for fear of danger.

And the most classic set of cross-mountain shots had to be put on hold due to the almost impossible task. Herzog also became more irritable, and he began to curse everything around him, all kinds of plants, animals, insects, as if they had become his enemies. He began to complain that he no longer plans to make movies in the future. Still, he rejected the suggestion of going back to the studio to set the scene. So, try again and again and keep shelving.

Finally, we get to see that great set of shots on screen. Watching that giant beast as if it had come to life, stepping on the mud under his feet, slowly, crossed the mountain---becoming a "boat on land".

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Extended Reading

Burden of Dreams quotes

  • Werner Herzog: In this case we will probably have one of the last feature films with authentic natives in it. They are fading away very quickly and its a catastrophe and a tragedy that's going on and we are losing riches and riches and riches and we lose cultures and individualities and languages and mythologies and we'll be stark naked at the end. We'll end up like all the cities in the world now with skyscrapers and a universal kind of culture like - like the American culture.

  • Werner Herzog: I don't want to live in a world where there are no lions anymore. Or, where there are no people like lions.