Meeting a Movie Producer at La Casa Fitzcarraldo in Iquitos, Peru

I was originally going to call this post “Proof That I’m The Greatest Wife In The World”, but Andrew suggested I change the title because it wasn’t descriptive enough.  (Not because he doesn’t think it’s true.)  😉

It isn’t always easy being married to me.  Andrew has to put up with a lot.  I’m kind of a terrible housekeeper.  My cooking is hit-or-miss.  And when I’m hungry, I become a horrible nightmare of a person.  But I like to think that all these years of Andrew being happily married to me has finally paid off for him… because this past summer he met Walter Saxer, and I’m the one who made it happen.

Walter Saxer

I will probably never stop patting myself on the back for this.  

Who is Walter Saxer, and why was Andrew quite pleased to meet him?  Well… in addition to enjoying fine food and seeing historical sites, Andrew is a cinephile.  He loves important films — watching them, dissecting them, learning from them.  I too enjoy these films, though I must admit I cannot keep up to his relentless consumption of fine cinema. But I do appreciate his appreciation of film, as weird as this sounds.  It’s just another thing about Andrew that I love so much.  He’s so thoughtful and intelligent… you know, my opposite.  He completes me.

Well, before you reach for that handy barf-bag, I’ll continue.

So, one of Andrew’s favourite movie directors is Werner Herzog — a German director who frankly is hilarious.  I get the impression that he didn’t know he was hilarious in the beginning, but in later years his narration of films has been, for me, totally sidesplitting.  His serious German accent, his earnestness, and simply the descriptive language he uses is so engaging but also perhaps unintentionally amusing.  (See Grizzly Man.)  We recently viewed Burden of Dreams, a documentary of Herzog’s determination against all sense and odds to film Fitzcarraldo in the Peruvian Amazon.  I was laughing a LOT.  I don’t think it’s intended as a comedy necessarily… but the thing with me is, I don’t find “normal” comedies that funny.  If it’s obvious that you’re trying to make me laugh, I’ll just find you annoying.  So… it’s hard for me to say whether this is supposed to be funny.  It’s a tale of obsession that is by turns funny and tragic and astounding, really.

Anyway, Walter Saxer was Herzog’s producer for a very long time.  And the films Herzog made in the Amazon took a very long time to complete.  So during those many years, Saxer purchased a beautiful home for himself in the midst of the jungle city Iquitos, which is today a gorgeous oasis of a hotel: La Casa Fitzcarraldo.

After our time at the Treehouse Lodge, Andrew booked us a night at La Casa Fitzcarraldo, and the main thrill of this was that this hotel has connections to Saxer, and is where actor Klaus Kinski, Herzog, and the rest of the crew had stayed during filming.  Kinski was the star of Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre, the Wrath of God, which was also filmed in the Peruvian Amazon by Herzog.

Here is something you really must now watch — you’ll see Kinski yelling at Saxer with Herzog’s narration of the unfolding scenario on the set of Fitzcarraldo.  Kind of nicely sums up everything I’ve been saying.  I find it super-amusing, actually.

So anyway!  Here we were at La Casa Fitzcarraldo, relaxing in our room, and realized we’d forgotten to obtain the wifi password when we checked in.  So, I went to the front desk and explained myself to the girl working there, when I heard a voice behind me say in perfect English, “Oh yes, she will help you.”  I turned around, and saw an old man with a very white bushy moustache and eyebrows.  I was startled, said thanks, took the slip of paper with the wifi password on it, and hurried back to our room.  I then sat there pondering and pondering.  There was something about that old man… who was he?  Then Andrew and I went to dinner, which was also at the front desk/bar/pool area.  As we sat at a table awaiting our food, I began to tell Andrew that he needed to talk to that man.  After all, he was sitting right there — I could SEE him!

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“Come on, Honey, I REALLY think you should go talk to him..!”

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“You’re making no sense.  Have some more beer why don’t you.”

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“It’s my intuition!  Please!  For me!  I feel it’s important!”

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“Okay, but this’ll be super-weird…!”

So, Andrew went over to him and asked him if he’d been around during the filming of Fitzcarraldo.  He replied, “Yes… I produced it!”  What followed was a very animated fantastic conversation which I listened to intently as I finished all our beers.  Saxer then said, “Well your food is ready now, we can talk more tomorrow.”  Andrew sadly replied, “Um, our flight leaves early tomorrow morning.”  I then quickly trotted over to take this photo:

Walter Saxer

Sad to have missed an opportunity for Andrew to talk more in-depth about film with Walter Saxer.  The next morning we were very stressed out about making our flight out of Iquitos.  Didn’t we have to get to the airport early?  Walter told us it was no rush.  He leisurely provided us with a fantastic breakfast, which we wolfed down in a panic and then declared we had to leave.  At which point Walter casually secured us a cab… and we learned that he had also paid for it, too.  Walter Saxer is definitely a class act.

When we got to the airport, we found out why Walter was so easygoing about us getting to the airport… we probably really did only need to arrive 20 minutes before our flight.  We ended up waiting for about an hour because the flight was delayed!  I was pretty sad about not trusting him with regards to his advice on timing.  *sigh*

Anyway, we learned an important lesson that day: if you’re staying somewhere isolated and encounter someone who seems comfortable but yet clearly isn’t from there, plus they’re also fairly old… you should ABSOLUTELY go talk to them.

End scene.

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4 responses to “Meeting a Movie Producer at La Casa Fitzcarraldo in Iquitos, Peru

  1. Saxer was actually very candid about how he felt about Kinski, Herzog and others. I wouldn’t want to rehash those thoughts online, but anyone who knows me can ask. It’s actually quite amazing what he had to say about the man he worked with for decades.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah… in hindsight, I could’ve totally gone and joined the two of you. But noooooo… I insisted on sitting alone at our table, eavesdropping and drinking your beer. Also in hindsight, we should’ve at least asked him if he wanted to sit up all night talking with us. Dammit that would’ve rocked. *sigh* Alas. A lost opportunity.

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  2. Such a good read, Erin. Well done. I don’t think I realized that Saxer had also served your breakfast, found you a cab AND paid for it. I must’ve missed that in the original re-telling. 🙂

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    • Thank-you so much Lauren! ❤
      Yes… we didn't talk to Walter much, but from start to finish, he struck me as being very kind, thoughtful, intelligent… fascinating. It really sucks that we took off so quickly.

      Like

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