Last week we saw the menacing conquistador, Don lope de Aguirre (Klaus Kinski), lead an expeditionary force on a vainglorious quest for El Dorado. Instead of glory, god and gold, the fortune seekers are met with death and destruction due to their leader’s insane ambition. Now in Fitzcarraldo (1982) another form of ambition drives a would-be rubber baron to build an opera house in the middle of the Peruvian jungle.
Brian Sweeny Fitzgerald (Fitzcarraldo) is a big opera fan living in a small town and in order to bring the opera to him he is going to need a lot of money. The best way to get rich quick in 1890s Peru is to exploit the last unclaimed parcel of rubber trees. The catch is that the last area of rubber trees is not only geographically difficult to reach but it is also inhabited by hostile natives. Fitzcarraldo has a scheme that just might work, but it will require hauling a 300 ton river boat over a mountain (which was actually done for the film).
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