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Fitzcarraldo, Directed by Werner Herzog

Filmverlag der Autoren, March 4, 1982 (West Germany)

Screenplay: Werner Herzog

Starring: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, and José Lewgoy

Fitzcarraldo (Klaus Kinski): I must stop my ship!

The river is rising. I’m in the garden watching. Its swollen mass passes me by. It has now overflowed onto the walking path next to the garden. Last night I dreamed it flooded the lawn and apartment spilling into our living room and bedroom in waves. I am not afraid. It has rained for what seems 40 days. But it has only been three.

My foot is swollen. With each gigantic swirl of brown water that passes by I can feel a hot jab of pain. My foot is now the size of a Nerf basketball. It feels like there is a fanged bat-weasel biting into it. I want to cut it off. The pain killers don’t work anymore.

The network of river is like a pump system. Flowing from the high mountains to fill one lake after the other. Curving and swirling its way through the mountains and lowlands like a serpent. It is old. It is not mighty. It is just one of many rivers.

I remember a book once about a young man searching the world over for wisdom and spiritual awakening. He did not find it. In the end he just sat down next to the river to watch it flow.

It wouldn’t take much for the water to carry away the piece of land where our house sits. Or take our neighborhood in one huge chunk and float it all away or suck it down. New cars and shiny apartments. The lawn mowers and garden sheds. The bicycles and toys and cellar wine bottles.

My foot is in excruciating pain. Everyone has pain. Everyone suffers. The river is an impossible, implacable beast. It is unconquerable. Nature is indomitable. Nature is a tremendously huge thing I do not understand nor will ever understand but I sit here in awe of it.

One day I will die. The river won’t. I promise myself not to be sad. I promise myself never to complain. I promise myself to be happy here in the now for as long as I can. For whatever I have.

The pain is a torrent. Like a heaving steamship being pushed over a mountain. Like the broken dreams of lost poets in the jungle. Like the dark sadness I try to stay away from.

And just when the teeth start to sink in. Just when it all starts to shred away.

It ceases.