The film lays out the troubled history of the production then follows Herzog and his antagonistic star Klaus Kinski into the Amazonian jungle as the four-year ordeal reaches its culmination. This is the film that first branded the jubilant angst of a Werner Herzog rant on our brains: the jungle has become an “obscenity… The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I don't think they sing. They just screech in pain.” A poet of simpler pleasures, Blank frames his bemused portrait of Herzog’s excesses within a lyrical portrayal of the indigenous work force. The juxtaposition is as unforgettable as the resemblance of Herzog to his fictional hero.
“Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams is a film that transcends traditional behind-the-scenes fare and becomes a layered, sophisticated documentary unequalled in the realm of films about filmmaking… It’s a superlative documentary that complements Herzog’s movie in a way that no other behind the scenes film has ever done; Burden of Dreams serves as an alternate, non-fiction look into the world of a devout dreamer and the tolls those dreams take on him and those around him.” — Daulton Dickey, Film Threat
“The film is at once funny and, in its depiction of the scant differences between art and megalomania, somewhat frightening.” — Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader