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Directed by Werner Herzog

1982, in German, Spanish, and Italian with English subtitles

West Germany/Peru

158 minutes



Introduced by Gwen Goffe, former associate director, investment and finance, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

A haunting film in a class of its own, Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo tells the story of opera aficionado Brian Sweeney "Fitzcarraldo" Fitzgerald (Klaus Kinski, who played the title character in Herzog’s Aguirre: The Wrath of God, also set in South America). A failed railway entrepreneur whose dreams and ambitions are always greater than his ability to achieve them, Fitzgerald is determined to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle, so that the locals can enjoy the music of Caruso and Verdi in their own habitat. The cunning, improbable plan involves hauling an enormous river boat across an Amazonian mountain with aid from the local Indians.

Gwen Goffe retired in June 2013 after a 43-year career in arts administration, finance, and investment. She worked for 18 years at the Corcoran Gallery and School of Art in Washington, DC, and 25 years at the MFAH. She is a graduate of Connecticut College and received her MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. At Wharton, she was the director of Wharton and the Fine Arts, an exhibition program she established, and she was also the arts management teaching fellow. Goffe has served in many civic roles in Houston. She is currently the fellow for the Center for Houston’s Future’s study of the arts and cultural heritage; cochair of the South Main Alliance; president of the Houston Arts Combined Endowment Foundation; and a board member of the Main Street Coalition, the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and the Southampton Civic Club. She has served as owner’s representative for many MFAH capital projects and retired as the Museum's associate director, investment and finance.