This year sees the anniversary of two major movies set in Latin America: Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982). Inkaterra shares a very special link with the films, as founder Jose Koechlin was the Peruvian producer of both productions. Director Werner Herzog won the Best Director award for the film Fitzcarraldo at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.
Fitzcarraldo portrays would-be rubber baron Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an Irishman known as Fitzcarraldo in Peru, who has to pull a steamship over a steep hill in order to access a rich rubber territory. The film is derived from the real-life story of Peruvian rubber baron Carlos Fitzcarrald. In the 1890s, Fitzcarrald did bring a steamship across an isthmus from one river into another. The film showcases awe-inspiring scenes from Machu Picchu and the Puerto Maldonado region. It was during this time that Jose Koechlin, founder and president of Inkaterra, developed a strong passion for the rainforest and started looking for somewhere to set up an ecological reserve.
Koechlin originally went to Herzog with the idea of making a movie about the historical character named Carlos Fermin Fitzcarrald, a man who crossed a ship over a mountain. The idea was to use the film as a catalyst to promote tourism in Peru.
The British Film Institute, in honour of its Anniversary has created a new restoration of Herzog’s extraordinary account of the quest for El Dorado. From its opening shots of an ant-like column of Spanish conquistadors and their enslaved indigenous porters scrambling perilously down through the clouds on a sheer pass in the Andes, it’s immediately clear that Werner Herzog’s account for El Dorado – now newly restored – will be something extraordinary. The movie will be in cinemas nationwide in the UK from today. To book tickets click here.