Director Werner Herzog's Love/Hate Relationship With His Star
Jan 28, 2009
MY BEST FIEND is director Werner Herzog's love letter to his longtime star Klaus Kinski. Herzog and Kinski were two distinctly different personalities who often clashed but when they came together they formed a third entity capable of creating incredible cinematic experiences. Kinski was brash, bombastic and given to horrendous rants and tantrums that kept most directors from working with him more than once--a completely egocentric artist who demanded being the center of attention at all times. Herzog by comparison seems quite and self- controlled, but he talks matter of factly of having planned to kill Kinski, and one piece of film shot on location shows him more than willing to go toe to toe with Kinski in a screaming match. But there is definitely a large ego at work in Herzog as well. Two men who seem so different and yet so much alike, a little madness and a lot of ego in them both.
Herzog is frequently drawn to films that deal with madness; from AGUIRRE THE WRATH OF GOD, which starred Kinski, to his documentary GRIZZLY MAN about Timothy Treadwell who mistakenly believed his knowledge of the bears would protect him, but who met his death at their teeth and claws. However Herzog also seems drawn to another type of film akin to the mockumentary. The best example being INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS where he supposedly records an expedition researching the famous monster, but nothing here is quite what it seems to be. I think that perhaps MY BEST FIEND is a happy marriage of these two cinematic preoccupations of Herzog's, because in MY BEST FIEND there's truth and there's some deception with a very big wink. Even the film's title seems to be a hint that there is more here than meets the eye. Perhaps this film is aimed at adding to the legendary relationship that existed between the two men during Kinski's lifetime. One which will probably grow to epic proportions now that he's gone-- something that I'm certain Kinski would enjoy immensely.
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