My Best Fiend by Werner Herzog. German film director Werner Herzog and the late international film star, Klaus Kinski, had a deep love-hate relationship with one another. As film artists, this fueled their work together and they will both be remembered primarily for their joint film efforts. Indeed, throughout the documentary made by Herzog, the one still alive, he seems to be lacking a part of himself when he is onscreen. He also seems to be as much trying to reclaim the best parts of himself as much as he is trying to come to final terms with his relationship with Kinski. Each man believed the other one was mad and a megalomaniac. Certainly neither man was like a "normal" person. In their film work together, it was all superb but also completely obsessed.
Every time Kinski's face comes onto the screen in the documentary, I remembered how beautiful or ugly he could make himself appear. His face is one artists everywhere would love to paint, draw, sculpt... whatever. That people were drawn to him and repelled by him off-camera, in equal measure, should really come as no surprise. That he could embody both characteristics within seconds of one another before the camera defined his brilliance as an actor. I think Kinski got the better end of the deal. He lived life exactly under his own terms for 56 years and then died, apparently of natural causes, totally spent. It was probably like a regular person's living to be 100!
Herzog, however, was left to go on. At this time he was a bit rudderless but then he found a new direction and it was in the documentary or docudrama film mode as opposed to fictional films, his previous sole interest. He has done some terrific work in that genre. But I still miss Kinski. This was an absolutely fascinating film and I highly recommend it.
Watch this documentary to experience him as a character and then read his true crime book compilations. He does a brilliant job of reporting these high profile murders. You can't put them down.
Dunne was also related to some high profile others in the arts. His late daughter Dominique was a rising actress. His son Griffin is an established actor and producer. His brother was the novelist John Gregory Dunne.
The documentary also touches on his relatives who were largely bypassed for his estate in favor of creating his own museum in his Pittsburg hometown. As an artist, I'm glad he made the museum possible. I hear it is wonderful. But I'm also glad I'm not related to him! Warhol was also a genius at delegating as much of the art process as he could, which was smart commercially and also gave him more time to watch.
If you are an artist, you are not going to discover any art techniques here because it is not that kind of film. You will spend as little time in the studio itself as Warhol did! This is a fascinating account nonetheless of an American artist who managed to stay at the forefront of art his entire life. I'd recommend seeing it.
His compositions remind me of Abstract Expressionist art and he was, of course, around during that vital time. This documentary lets you see all sides of his work and also glimpses of his personal life. Like most artists and musicians, it is pretty clear that he was not the ideal living companion. Typically, the biggest thing in his life was his music and nothing else even came close to that as a consideration.