peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 11 03 MyBestFiend

My Best Fiend (1999)

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Klaus Kinski apparently had his say in his autobiography published in 1988. I guess this was Werner Herzog's riposte in his native medium, eight years after Kinski passed.

Mostly this is Herzog declaiming directly to the camera and that gets tiresome fast. Most of the anecdotes are rehearsed elsewhere which made me suspect that the majority of the experiences of making Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre were transient or forgettable. The best parts are when he self-satirizes, for instance by following up a tale of declining the offer by some Peruvian Indians to murder Kinski with some pleading for his own sanity before describing his own plot to achieve the same end at some other place and time.

Burden of Dreams is superior as it doesn't allow Herzog to get away with so much self-serving flab. One reason to watch is for footage of some proper Kinski outbursts, though the first one is a lengthy 51 minutes in and it only involves producer/collateral damage Walter Saxer. Another highlight is Claudia Cardinale at 1 hour 23m observing that Kinski's cleanliness fetish was a little bit like Michael Jackson!

Roger Ebert: three stars. The picture of Kinski taking a machete to Herzog's neck is worth the whole movie. Janet Maslin. Ian Buruma takes Herzog on more deeply, broadly and entertainingly in 2007: fabulism, "the twentieth century [was a] massive, colossal and cataclysmic mistake." I'm about Herzogged out.