Movie Blog: The Lagoon’s Spring Obsession Series

I’m considerably bummed that I allowed myself to miss the first movie in the Lagoon Cinema’s Obsession Film Series.

Two questions: (1) What caused me to miss the movie? And (2) what movie was it?

In reverse order: the movie was Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. I own it on DVD, but I’ve never seen the movie the way it was meant to be seen. It’s about a man who wants to bring opera to the Amazon jungle. And after a few failed entrepreneurial attempts to make this happen, he tries his hand at the booming rubber business. He finds an area of unexploited trees, but in order to sap them he needs to push a steamboat over a mountain.

Played by the uber-intense Klaus Kinski, Fitzcarraldo convinces a tribe of natives to help him in his endeavor, and the result is a feast of fog and festering jungle, rapids and gramaphones, and one enormous and enigmatic metaphor.

It’s just too bad that a wonderful dinner with my parents couldn’t have fallen on another day.

But because I missed Fitzcarraldo, I’m certainly going to see (at least) one of the three other great movies playing this month.

The one I’m most excited about is the last: Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which plays at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on March 28. I haven’t seen this on the big screen, but I recently re-read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, so I’m keen to experience “The horror” in another medium.

Next week’s film in the Obsession Series is John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which stars Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt. It’s about a group’s search for gold in central Mexico and the devils (greed, madness and bandits) that threaten them in their effort. It’s playing at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on March 14.

Between Treasure and Apocalypse – that sounds like a 2012 book title – is Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Considering the sky has been recently brightened by aurora borealis, it’s not a bad time to think of UFOs or watch Francois Truffaut.

You might encounter Encounters at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on March 21.

Maybe it’s just me, but aren’t obsessed people so much more fun to watch and listen to? They certainly beat the bored – those who tend to look to others (you!) to entertain them. A high school teacher once told me: if you’re bored, it’s your fault. Perhaps. In case you need to fend off boredom this spring, consider Wednesdays at the Lagoon.

Times and tickets.

More from Jonathon Sharp
  • Richard in Minneapolis

    Hard to believe that Jason Robards was originally cast as Fitzcarraldo. And with a sidekick played by Mick Jaggers, no less! Robards became ill early in the filming and his doctors ordered him to stop and return to the U.S., resulting in Herzog calling in Kinski.

    • Jonathon Sharp


      Have you seen Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams? It’s a documentary on the making of Fitzcarraldo, and it has wonderful Herzog and Kinski moments. You may care for it, as might anyone else interested in Herzog movies.

      Jonathon Sharp

    • Lucas

      I agree that the Life Aquatic is a weaker film of Anderson’s, eiescpally the love triangle (blech), but I had fun watching it navigate its odd postmodern take on the docu-adventure genre. I liked the look of the film as well, and the music (oh the music! bossa nova bowie!). I could enjoy watching it a couple more times, I think. I loved the art direction and the critters.But I have to say, it’s mostly a star vehicle (just look at the poster/dvd cover) and another film where Bill Murray the washed-up actor plays washed-up actor/film star. But unlike lost in translation, I liked this film.But yes, ultimately it doesn’t make it into my favorite films by any means

  • Selim

    There’s a more recent iievrentw with Herzog in the special features, where he claims that Blank didn’t provide the proper context for the scene where he talks about people losing their lives. He says that there was one accident with a canoe that he cannot be blamed for, and that there were sufficient safety precautions in place for pulling the ship across the mountain. This makes a pretty big difference, and it’s not the story that Burden of Dreams seems to tell at all.

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