My Best Fiend

My Best Fiend (1999)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Klaus Kinski, Werner Herzog
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

The relationship between filmmaker Werner Herzog and German character actor Klaus Kinski has always been a very special one. During Herzog’s childhood, the extroverted actor used to live in the same house with him, leaving remarkable memories in the young man’s mind. In ’My Best Fiend’, Werner Herzog sets a monument to Klaus Kinski, one of Germany’s most acclaimed -though also most eccentric – actors. The documentary takes Herzog to the house in Munich in which the 13-year old school boy first met Klaus Kinski and follows his own trails to the feature film productions of Nosferatu, Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo and others, in which Klaus Kinski and Herzog worked together. Unflinching, raw and uncensored, ’My Best Fiend’ shows us many sides of Kinski, from the philosophical to the vulgar, and at the same time describes the rather unique working relationship and that grew between the two men.

Anchor Bay Entertainment is presenting ’My Best Fiend’ in a 16×9 enhanced widescreen transfer on this disc. The image material used in this documentary comes from a variety of sources, including 70s television footage, and is varied in quality. The entire presentation is absolutely clean however, without flaws or blemishes in the print and with very neutral looking colors.

The audio on the disc is presented as Dolby Surround tracks in the original German language, as well as a dubbed English version. Although some of the raw behind-the-scenes material contains distortion – Kinski loved to yell, curse and scream in fury – the audio on this DVD is well integrated and absolutely sufficient for the subject matter, helping to paint an untamed image of the actor.

Herzog’s own question ’What was the reason for inflicting this upon myself?’ never comes to mind when watching this grandiose documentary. It is a spectacularly honest and mesmerizing look behind the scenes with unforgettable moments of rage, fury and movie magic. ’My Best Fiend’ is an utterly fascinating film that all lovers of movies should see, if only to understand the many problems and challenges a filmmaker can challenge from his cast. This is a side that you usually never get to see, due to legal issues and contractual clauses, but Werner Herzog pulls back the blanket in this film to show us how despite these odds, these two men managed to create some of the most lasting and impressive movies of German movie history. This film is just incredible!