From the Chicago Reader (February 11, 2000). — J.R.
My Best Fiend
Rating * Has redeeming facet
Directed and written by Werner Herzog.
What’s the difference between artistry and bravado? This isn’t a question I generally feel inclined to ask, but I’m compelled by the work of Werner Herzog, who scrambles the two until it’s difficult to tell which is which. My Best Fiend – Herzog’s documentary feature about his tumultuous collaborations with Klaus Kinski, the mad actor with whom he made some of his most notable films — also compels questions about Kinski’s bravado and artistry, and suggests that it might not always be easy to distinguish his from Herzog’s.
One might call My Best Fiend, which is playing this week at Facets, the art-movie equivalent of writer-director Blake Edwards’s Trail of the Pink Panther. 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.… Read more »