Why did Les Blank call his film Burden of Dreams?
Cinema emboldens us. It helps us surmount everyday life and encourages us to take our hopes and desires seriously, to turn them into reality. When things were going badly I headed back to Germany in an attempt to hold together the film's investors. they asked me if I was going to continue. "Do you really have the strength and will?" I said, "How can you ask this question? If I abandon this project, I will be a man without dreams. I live my life or I end my life with Fitzcarraldo." It wan't possible for me to allow myself private feelings of doubt while making the film. I never had the privilege of despair; had I hesitated or panicked for a single second, the entire project would have come tumbling down around me. The final film ended up basically as I had always hoped it would, with the exception of the Mick Jagger character. Months later Claudia Cardinale said to me, "When you came to Rome four years ago and explained your ideas to me and all the difficulties we would have to overcome. Now I've seen the film, and it's exactly as you first described it."
If you watch Fitzcarraldo and have the courage to push on with your own projects, then the film has accomplished something. If one person walks outside after watching one of my films and no longer feels so alone, I have achieved everything I have set out to achieve. When you read a great poem you instantly know there is a profound truth to it. Sometimes there are similar moments of great insight in cinema, when you know you have been illuminated. Perhaps, occasionally, I have achieved such heights with my own films.
Werner Herzog - A Guide for the Perplexed
Conversations with Paul Cronin