Many years ago I worked in a record store where I spent a lot of my time flipping through the inventory to see what I was missing. One day I came across an LP I had not seen before.
At the time I thought this was the funniest, cheesiest, most bizarre album I had ever seen. I wasn’t making films or audio dramas and I did not foresee any use for it, but still I had to have it. Plus, it was cheap, what with my employee discount and all. I brought it up to the cashier and with a laugh I said to whoever rang me up, “Who would BUY this?” As I took the money out of my wallet a lightening bolt of self-awareness struck me! I would buy it, that’s who!
Flash forward about 20 years and the release of Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn, a film he shot in the jungles of Thailand. At this point I am an admirer of Herzog and am particularly captivated by Fitzcarraldo and its companion, Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams, a documentary chronicling the making of Fitzcarraldo. For the purposes of this post, you need only know that Herzog had a very difficult time shooting this film on location in the Amazon jungle.
Here’s a famous clip from Burden of Dreams wherein Herzog goes all Herzogian about the Amazon.
Leaving the theater after Rescue Dawn, I turned to my movie-going companion and said, “It’s amazing, Herzog finally gets a decent budget and big name Hollywood actors, and what does he do? Right back into the jungle! Crazy.”
And last month I thought about what I had said as I booked a flight to Arizona upon receiving news about my income tax refund. So tomorrow (Tuesday, April 14, 2015), cinematographer Andy Bowley and I will be back in the Sonoran Desert shooting Arcosanti and conducting a follow-up interview with Jeff Stein, AIA, successor to Paolo Soleri and president of the Cosanti Foundation. I know, I know, I’ve said production is over about ten times. But this is it. This shoot is for the ending of the film and very very necessary. So to the desert we go.
I expect they’ll be a post when I return, maybe some photos, and eventually some footage, too.