Saturday night, the love of my life and I watched Mein liebster Feind (My Best Fiend), the German documentary about the late actor Klaus Kinski. Director Werner Herzog, who last year performed the brilliant cinematic autopsy on wannabe bearologist Timothy Treadwell in Grizzly Man, in 1999 did the same for Kinski. The two men first met when Herzog was thirteen, and together they went on to become not only dear friends and (often inspired) filmic collaborators, but also mortal enemies.
Herzog may not be as mad as Kinski (if he is, he hides it well), but he’s arguably as egotistical. And though most of the movie deals with the psychic battlefield on which these two men fought, ultimately My Best Fiend is the kind of postmortem appreciation that can only come out of a deep love and understanding. If you doubt that, witness the shots with which Herzog chooses to end his film, of a beatific Kinski caressing — or perhaps being caressed by — a butterfly, thus absolving the often mad actor of all the vitriol that has come before.>