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The taming of the untamable actor

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It’s usually the horse with the scariest look that wins the show jumping competition.

Can you see it in front of you? Its nostrils has gotten a life of their own, the eyes have a crazy look and it’s so full of energy that you expect it to self ignite and explode in a thousand pieces any minute.

If the rider manages to figure out how to interact with this monster of a horse, dancing with it rather than forcing it to subordination, it will win the competition. But if he doesn’t you know it will end in disaster.

The thought struck me more than once that the German actor Klaus Kinski reminds me of this type of horse when I watched Werner Herzog’s documentary, My Best Fiend.

This film is nothing like an ordinary biography starting at the birth, ending at the grave, with some highlighted spots of interest along the way, like education, tops in the career and family events. The angle is completely different, focusing on the relationship between Herzog and Kinski.

To call it turbulent would be an understatement. Kinski’s outbursts of rage in front of the camera are of the magnitude that I could swear that seismographs will register it as minor earthquakes. His eyes tell you that he might smash the entire film set and all the people that are around into pieces any minute, unless Herzog once again will find a way to communicate with him, convincing this horse to use his inbuilt power to jump the obstacle rather than destroying everything that comes in his way.

I love the approach to the topic. While a little slow at times, there are also some really beautiful moments in it, moments of closeness between Kinski and Herzog and moments where Kinski show other sides than just the rage, tenderly playing with a butterfly.

The only drawback was that the copy that was screened at my local film club contained a lot of material that was dubbed from German to English, which was completely pointless and only annoying, since we watch it with subtitles anyway.

If I’ve managed to tickle your interest for this film and you consider watching it, I strongly suggest you to choose a version with the original German sound, provided it’s an option.

My Best Fiend (Mein liebster Feind – Klaus Kinski, Werner Herzog, GE, 1999) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

September 19, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in My Best Fiend