sábado, 7 de marzo de 2009

My Best Fiend

Mein liebster Feind (Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD, 2002)
Directed by Werner Herzog
Germany, 1999
In German and English with English subtitles

Although I'm a huge Herzog fan to begin with, I have a special fondness for this tremendously funny and utterly compelling 1999 documentary about his bizarre working relationship with the great actor, legendary temper tantrum thrower, and raving egomaniac Klaus Kinski. Recalling the five feature films the pair made together over the course of the years, Herzog takes the viewer along for an anecdotal wild ride to the locations where some of their stormiest collaborations were filmed: the jungles of Peru for Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, the Czech Republic for Woyzeck, etc. Kinski usually comes off as an out of control but brilliant ass, a prima donna prone to hostile fits of anger whenever he'd forgotten his lines or stopped being the center of attention, but Herzog readily admits that the two needed each other to bring out their best. Watching this portrait, it's clear that the two had mutual respect for one another and at least occasional affection as well. Ironically, My Best Fiend also sports multiple confessions from the director, ostensibly the sane one, of plots to kill his belligerent star--the first for threatening to leave Aguirre, the Wrath of God just before the movie was completed ("I told him I had a rifle and by the time he'd reach the next bend in the river, there'd be eight bullets in his head and the ninth one would be mine") and another when he became so angry with Kinski on a different film that he decided to firebomb his house ("This was prevented only by the diligence of his Alsatian shepherd"). While Kinski died of natural causes in 1991, Herzog's offbeat tribute to his cinematic partner in crime has to rank as one of their most memorable projects ever. Rating: 5/5 stars! (http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/)

Herzog (left) and Kinski share a quiet moment on the set

8 comentarios:

  1. Thanks for the welcome to Orbis Terrarum. Do movies count?

    Even though I have a place in my heart for both Herzog and Kinski I have never seen this film. It sound like great fun. As for Per Petterson you might want to start with In The Wake.

  2. Gavin, movies count for the Film Mini-Challenge (10 movies in 10 months from 10 different countries) which is running concurrently with the main book challenge. The Herzog documentary's a blast, so I hope you get a chance to see it. In the meantime, thanks for dropping by and for the tip on the Petterson book.

  3. Although I'm not doing the Film Challenge myself, I enjoy seeing recommendations for good films, especially foreign ones I know little or nothing about. Thanks for posting this.

  4. that picture of the actor and the director is awesome! looks like they had some great fun! thanks for the review, I have yet to see a German film!

  5. *Hedgie: No problem--thank you for the visit.

    *Bethany: Yeah, I laugh whenever I see that photo! Two other fairly recent German films that you might want to consider watching someday are "The Lives of Others" (an intense "political" drama and 2006 Academy Award winner for best foreign language film) and "Mostly Martha" (a sweet romantic comedy that suffered the indignity of a horrible U.S. remake a year or two ago).

  6. Oh, when I saw the OT Mr Linky I was surprised to see this listed - but I had completely forgotten about the OT film challenge!

    I love-love-love this movie too!!!

    /Eva - a fellow OT-er

  7. This sounds so interesting - I can tell I am going to have a hard time ONLY watching 10 films for the mini-challenge! I wonder how long it will take me to go overboard?? =)

  8. *Eva: It's great to hear from another "My Best Fiend" fan! I get the feeling it's one of Herzog's lesser-known documentaries, but everybody I know who's seen it has been wowed. Thanks for dropping by!

    *Elizabeth: It's a VERY entertaining movie! I think it'd be hard not to go overboard with this mini-challenge, so you won't lack for company in that regard. Thanks for the visit!