another success from THE documentarian, this film is as much a portrait of Herzog himself (as he tells the majority of the stories) as it is of Kinski. naturally, it's more enjoyable if you've seen a couple of their collaborations, especially "Aguirre" and "Fitzcarraldo."
The volatile and incendiary working relationship and bizarre friendship of director Werner Herzog and actor Klaus Kinski is examined here by Herzog. These are the film stories of legend both tall and true. Though both parties reject their entwined legacies one can see the magic their collaborations left in the films left behind. A great film for cinephiles and novices both.
Herzog's dual and contradictory partnership with Kinski is here exposed, a thoughtful account of their labyrinthic and synergic relantionship. It is also a self-portrait of Herzog in that, in his quest to scrutinise Kinski, reveals his ability for understanding, love and compassion, qualities often found at the heart of his work. The film also complements the legendary intra-story behind Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo.
"Every human being is an abyss. You get dizzy, looking down." You learn a lot about Herzog too as he relates various memories of Kinski. "Towards the end of the shooting, the Indians offered to kill Kinski for me." Some wonderful moments and loved hearing Popul Vuh again. "If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the Wrath of God."
The film remained aloof and difficult to dig into for me. Having seen other Herzog, I was not prepared for this entry to be so difficult. It covers a story that I do not know well and I feel like I wish I had known the backstory more to not struggle in the moment to understand the events from moment to moment. There is nothing particularly wrong with the film, but it did not capture me like other films Herzog made.
"A meditation by a director on an actor, it is unique; most show-biz docs involve the ritual exchange of compliments. My Best Fiend is about two men who both wanted to be dominant, who both had all the answers, who were inseparably bound together in love and hate, and who created extraordinary work--while all the time each resented the other's contribution." - Roger Ebert