MY BEST FIEND (German : Mein liebster Feind - Klaus Kinski, literally
My Dearest Foe - Klaus Kinski) is a 1999 German documentary film
written and directed by
* 1 Plot * 2 Critical reception * 3 References * 4 External links
The film opens with shots of
Herzog tours a substantially renovated apartment that he and his family shared with Kinski and other boarders, looks at the first film clip he ever saw of Kinski, and presents footage from the sets of their various movies. He recounts the heated and sometimes violent altercations between them, including the oft-repeated story of how he threatened to shoot Kinski should he leave the production of Aguirre. He also draws on footage from Burden of Dreams (1982), a documentary about the making of Fitzcarraldo, which was a particularly difficult film for their relationship.
At the same time, Herzog expresses a deep respect for Kinski's acting
talent. Interviews with two of the women who starred opposite him, Eva
Mattes (from Woyzeck ) and
Herzog describes Kinski's death as the result of having lived so strenuously and fully – "like a comet", as he puts it. His voice is heard over the final scene of Cobra Verde, in which Kinski collapses in the surf as he tries to pull a large boat out to sea.
The documentary was screened out of competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival .
As of May 2013,
My Best Fiend
Janet Maslin of the
New York Times
As 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.
Jonathan Rosenbaum , writing for the
Chicago Reader , was less
enthusiastic, calling the film, "The art-movie equivalent to
Edwards and Peter Sellers reportedly were at each other’s throats throughout their many collaborations on Pink Panther comedies—largely, it appears, because of Sellers’s hyperbolically neurotic behavior. Herzog and Kinski had a similarly volatile relationship, which ended only after Kinski died, in 1991. Herzog got his revenge by releasing outtakes of his difficult star, much as Edwards continued to fiddle around with unreleased footage of Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in Trail of the Pink Panther. Herzog offers a personal documentary about Kinski and himself—recollecting particular tantrums and outrages while speculating on their significance, revisiting the Peruvian locations of some of their joint efforts, interviewing former crew members, showing Kinski behaving vilely to everyone around him.
* ^ "Festival de Cannes: My Best Fiend". festival-cannes.com.
My Best Fiend