Programmed by Jean-Philippe Desrochers
In the 1950s, a teenage Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, 48 hour fit of rage, Kinski completely destroyed the bathroom. From this chaos, a violent, love-hate, profoundly creative partnership was born. In 1972, Herzog cast Kinski in Aguirre, Wrath of God. Four more films would follow. In this personal documentary, Herzog traces the often violent ups and downs of their relationship, revisiting the various locations of their films and talking to the people they worked with.
A word from Tënk
In My Best Fiend, Werner Herzog examines his tumultuous and complicated relationship with the actor Klaus Kinski, eight years after Kinski’s death. The documentary paints a picture of two men who will let nothing interfere with their obsession with their craft…even the desire to kill one another! Reflecting on his “fiend”, Herzog returns to, among other places, the Peruvian jungle, site of their most fruitful (and intense, and dangerous) collaborations, Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982). Herzog also uses clips from the fantastic Burden of Dreams, a documentary that chronicles Fitzcarraldo’s brutal filming.
While My Best Fiend, with all its incredible anecdotes, can be seen as a celebration of megalomania, outsize behaviours, and the skillful manipulation sometimes needed to bring enormous projects to a successful close, it ends on an astonishingly sweet note, in total opposition to the film’s opening sequence. Highlighting the profound complexity of human beings in all their multifaceted glory, this touching conclusion also gives Herzog the opportunity to reveal the very real and palpable fascination that Kinski held over him.