My Best Fiend Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the My Best Fiend script is here for all you quotes spouting fans of the Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski movie.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of My Best Fiend. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

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My Best Fiend Script








...cast the beam out

of thine own eye...



...and then the mote from mine.



- Jesus takes off his shirt...

- And lets others speak.



...he kneels before the first one...



...washing his dusty feet

with his shirt.



I am not the Jesus of

the official Church...



...who the police, bankers...



...judges, hangmen, officers,

church bosses, politicians...



...and other powerful

people tolerate.



I am not your Superstar.



Shut the fuck up!



Come up here, bigmouth.



I'm not a great speaker...



...but maybe some of you seek

Christ. But I don't think this is Him.



Because Christ was tolerant...



...and if someone contradicted Him,

He would not tell them to shut up.



No, He didn't say shut up.



He took a whip...



...and smacked their ugly faces!



That's what He did...


            stupid pig!



And if only one of you wants...


            hear me...



...he has to wait...



...until this fucking scum has left.



If I may quote:



"Thou shalt recognize them by

their works." That's what counts.



Munich,   Elisabeth Street



How do you do, Mr. Herzog?



Herr von der Recke, I hope you

are prepared for this invasion.



Yes, we are.



You do know, that this apartment

has a very special meaning for me.



As a thirteen-year-old

schoolboy, I used to live here...



...with my mother and

my two brothers.



This was a small, rather shabby

boarding house...


            restored of course.

- That was in the Fifties?



I was just thirteen.



The odd thing was that I lived here

with Klaus Kinski for   months.



Oh, really?



It was a chain of coincidences.



The owner of the boarding house,

Klara Rieth, an elderly lady of   ...



...with wildly dyed orange hair, had

a soft spot for starving artists...


            she herself had come

from a family of artists.



Kinski had been living nearby

in an attic, without furniture...



...just bare beams, and everything

covered knee-high with dead leaves.



He posed as a starving artist and

walked around stark-naked.






Yes, when the postman rang...



...Kinski rustled through his leaves,

stark-naked, and signed.



Where was that?



Somewhere nearby.



But he wore clothes

when he lived here, I hope?



Yes, but from the very first

moment, he terrorized everyone.



There were   parties living here.

He locked himself into the bathroom...



The bath over there...



- Wasn't there a door there?

- Yes, it led to the bathroom.



- May we?

- Yes, go ahead.



This room, to the left, was bigger.



Yes, we enlarged the bathroom.



That's where we used to live,

my mother and the three boys.



The four of us in just

one single room.



There were bunks. We were rather

poor, and my mother tried somehow...


            take part in the economic

miracle but got left behind.



This bath was smaller because

our room reached up to here.



Kinski had locked himself in this

bathroom for   days and   nights.



For forty-eight hours.



in his maniacal fury, he smashed

everything to smithereens.



The bathtub, the toilet bowl -




You could sift it through a tennis

racket. It was really incredible.



I never thought it possible that

someone could rave for    hours.



They called the police in the end,

but they left him in peace.



He was put up there,

in a tiny staff room.



- May I?

- Please, go ahead.



It was completely different, then,

there was a long corridor...



...and here there were one,

two, three small rooms.






And here must have been

a wall and an entrance.



The corridor went along here.



And this here was Kinski's room.



There was only room for

a bed and a small night table.



And that was his window

looking onto the backyard.



One day, Kinski took a huge

running start down the corridor...



...while we were eating. I heard

a strange noise and then...


            an exlosion the door came off

its hinges crashing into the room.



He must have jumped against it at

full speed, and now he stood there...



...flailing wildly, completely

hysterical, snow-white in the face.



He was foaming at the mouth,

and he moved like this...



Something came floating down

like leaves -they were his shirts...



...his screams were incredibly shrill.



He could actually break

wine glasses with his voice.



And three octaves too high he

screamed, 'Klara! You pig! '



The thing was, she hadn't ironed

his shirt collars neatly enough.



Klara had him living here for free,

fed him and did his laundry.



One day a theater critic had

been invited for dinner.



He hinted that having watched a

play in which Kinski had a small roll...



...he would mention him as

outstanding and extraordinary.



At once, Kinski threw   hot potatoes

and the cutlery into his face.



He jumped up and screamed:



"I was not excellent!



I was not extraordinary!



I was monumental!



I was epochal!"



All this made a very deep

impression on me then...



...and that I would work with him

later and make five feature films...



You would never

have thought that.



No, that was never on

my horizon at the time.



It was beyond my

furthest thoughts.



Did he ever have any training as

an actor while he was here?



He was self-taught.



At times you could hear him in

his closet, for ten hours non-stop...



...doing his voice and




It was absolutely incredible.



He pretended to be a genius who

had fallen straight from heaven...



...and who had obtained his

gift by the grace of God.



in reality, it was incredible, how

much he trained himself.



At that time, during his poetry

recitals, he still had this artificial...


            intonation of the Fifties,

a kind of a snorting snarl.



He mastered it to perfection.



And this is where I lived with him...



...and so knew what to expect,

if I was to work with him.



...saltpeter, blazing



            the urine of a

donkey in heat...


            snakes' poison,

old hags' spittle...


            dog shit and

foul bath-water...


            wolf's milk, gall of o xen

and flooded latrines.



in this juice...



...thou shalt stew

the slanderers.



in a tomcat's brain

who ceased to fish...


            the foam that dribbles

from the teeth of rabid dogs...



...mixed with monkey's piss,

in bristles from a hedgehog torn...


            a rain barrel,

where vermin crawl...



...perished rats and the

festering slime of...



...toad-stools, glowing at night...


            horses' snot and in hot glue.



in this juice...



...shall the slanderers stew.



Peru, the train tracks along

the Urubamba river...



...Kinski's and my river of

destiny so to speak.



I wanted to retrace

some of our steps.



The first film we did together

was "Aguirre, the Wrath of God"...



...which started here.



It was my sixth film and I

was    at the time.



I had sent Kinski my screenplay.



Two nights later, at  am, I was

awakened by the phone.



At first I couldn't figure

out what was going on.



All I heard were inarticulate screams

at the other end of the line.



It was Kinski.



After about half an hour, I could

filter out from his screams...



...that he was ecstatic about the

screenplay and wanted to be Aguirre.



The shooting of "Aguirre" was

faced with two pressing problems.



One was the budget.







Today, it is inconceivable that we

made the film with only $      .



No one was interested

in financing it, and what's more...



...later, no one even wanted to

see the film for years.



Kinski was the next problem.



At the time, he had just cut

short a Jesus tour.



He had appeared in huge arenas,

in the Deutschland Halle in Berlin...



...and the audience merely

wanted to watch him rave.



He was laughed at, had terrible

fits and raved and screamed...



...and arrived here at our location as

a derided, misunderstood Jesus.



He had wholly identified with his

role and continued to live on in it.



Often, it was difficult to talk to him,

because he answered like Jesus.



in his earlier phase you could

watch him in similar self-stylizations.



As François Villon,

the poor, vagrant poet.



Then as Dostoyevsky's idiot,

and later in his life, as Paganini.



What is more, he had been

fascinated by the screenplay...



...which had a different beginning

from the finished film.



in the script, there was a scene on

a glacier at an altitude of       ft.



A huge procession of altitude sick

pigs advances towards you.



Only later would you realize that

this was part of a Spanish army...



...of adventurers, accompanied

by     or a      indian auxiliaries.



All this was cut from the script.



Nevertheless, Kinski arrived

with half a ton of alpine equipment.



He brought tents, sleeping bags,

crampons and ice axes.



He badly wanted to expose

himself to wild nature...



...but had some rather insipid

ideas about it.



Mosquitos were not allowed in

his jungle, neither was rain.



After establishing him in his tent,

it started to rain and he got wet.



So, he immediately had one of

his raving fits during the first night.



The next day we built a roof of

palm leaves above his tent.



Still discomforted, he moved

into the hotel of Machu Picchu.



At the time, there was only one

hotel with eight rooms.



There was nothing here either...



...except for a single hut

where I used to sleep.



A native indian woman lived there.



A hunch-backed dwarf

with nine children.



She also had    -    guinea-pigs,

which were there to eat.



At night they crawled all over me,

and that was uncomfortable.



So, I moved in with the indians.

    indians from the highlands...



...from an altitude of       ft.,

who stayed in this big barn.



in a radius of about     miles, no

possiblity to find shelter existed.



I slept in there with them.



The last two days before shooting

started were rather chaotic.



I tried to establish some order and

worked   days and nights straight.



Before going to sleep at dawn,

for one hour, I told them:



Please, wake me up when you take

off in the train, but they forgot.



I had been forgotten and in a

white hot panic I realized...



...the train was taking off. I was fully

dressed, apart from my shoes.



I ran after the departing train,    

yards barefoot, across broken stone.



With bleeding feet I barely

reached a step and got on.



That was perhaps the most

important shooting day in my life.



When I finally arrived up here,

there was a dense fog.



Everything was clouded over

and it was pouring rain.



You could only see

as far as     ft.



The mountain back there was

completely enshrouded in cloud.



You couldn't see anything,

except gray clouds.



There was indescribable chaos.



On top of that, there was a big

problem with Kinski.



First, he realized he would

only be a dot in the landscape...



...and not the center of attention.



He wanted to act in close-up with a

grim face, leading the entire army.



I explained to him, that he wasn't

yet the leader of this expedition...



...for that was Gonzalo Pizarro.



It was very difficult...



...because Kinski simply wasn't the

center of attention in this scene.



Secondly, our concept of

landscape differed profoundly.



He wanted the shot to embrace

all of scenic Machu Picchu...



...including the peak, just like a

Hollywood-style movie...



...with the landscape as a beautiful

backdrop, exploited for the scene.



Commercials work that way.

Postcards look like that...



...but I wanted an ecstatic

detail of that landscape...



...where all the drama, passion and

human pathos became visible.



He just didn't understand this,

but for me it was something crucial.



A landscape with almost

human qualities.



Kinski replied, the only fascinating

landscape on this earth...



...was the human face.



After that I removed him

from this shot.



I also had the feeling that this

scene without any faces...



...would stick in the spectators'

minds for a long time.



Kinski raved about my

being a megalomaniac.



I answered him back:

"That makes two of us!"



Finally, at    am, everything

opened up, and here...



...on the right-hand side, very

strangely, the clouds stayed put...



...and to the left they parted and

then the file of people came down.



While we were shooting, I

had a very profound feeling...


            if the grace of God was with

this film and with me.



As if I were witnessing

something extraordinary...



...which I would never see again.



I can say, that on this day I definitely

came to know my own destiny.



     ft. Below Machu Picchu, the

Urubamba flows around...



...the inka Site and the

rocky peak nearby.



During the dry season

the boulders are in the open...



...but the water can

rise rapidly here by    feet.



This is what the same

place looks like at high water.



It seemed to me like a metaphor

for our turbulent relationship.



If you want someone to be

agitated, let him be agitated!



- Fucking shoot! Let's shoot this shit!

- The camera won't roll now.



It's an insult!

You have to beg me,



...even David Lean did that

and Brecht too.



- You will do it as well, my dear!

- I will not. - We shall see!



- I will not do it.

- We shall see!



I couldn't care less what

Brecht and David Lean did.



What was the reason for

inflicting this on myself?



At age    I had seen Kinski

in the anti-war film:



"Children, Mothers and a General."



He plays a lieutenant who

leads schoolboys to the front.



Maximilian Schell also

plays a small part.



He falls in love

and wants to desert.



Kinski will have him shot for

that the next morning.



Don't be afraid.

I haven't seen a girl in   years.



Hey, you! Go away!



That bastard.



Are you coming?

I shall wait outside, o.k.?



Do me this favor, please.



The mothers of the boys and the

soldiers go to sleep for a few hours.



Kinski is awakened at daybreak,

and the way he wakes up...



...will forever stay in my memory.



Yes, we have to leave.



This one moment, repeated here,

impressed me so profoundly...



...that later, it was a decisive

factor in my professional life.



Yes, we have to leave.



Strange, how memory can

magnify something like that.



The following scene, where he

orders Maximilian Schell to be shot...



...seems much more

impressive to me today.






- Will he be shot?

- It's outragous, you can't do this!



You have to listen to him, at least.

We beg you.



But this is murder!

It can't be decided just like that!



Lately it can.



Lima, the airport.



On the traces of the past,

I met Justo Gozalez...



...who works here as a tourist

guide and has been waiting for me.



He was one of the Spanish

soldiers from Aguirre's expedition.



We hadn't seen each

other for more than    years.



  nd of February. We are

suffering terrible hardship.



The men have a fever

and are hallucinating.



Hardly anybody can

still keep on his legs.



The soldier Justo Gonzalez drank

my ink, thinking it was medicine.



I can't write anymore.

We are drifting in circles.



Here, at the left of the picture,

Justo Gonzalez then...


            the role of a Spanish

adventurer, exhausted by fever.



in all scenes of the movie, Kinski

had an intense aggressiveness...



...being at the same time

cold-blooded and calculating.



in one of the scenes we attacked an

indian village which we burnt down.



Kinski assaulted the extras who were

distracted by the food they found.



He flailed wildly at us and

hit my head with his sword.



Luckily my iron helmet

protected me.



He hit so hard that I suffered a

considerable wound on my head.



I didn't lose consciousness,

but suffered massive bleeding.



And without your helmet,

what would have happened?



Without the helmet,

he could have killed me.



He would have split my skull.



He was precise in

aiming at my helmet...



...but always impulsive, aggressive,

out of control. Hitting everyone.



And afterwards?



Afterwards, this scar remained.

It's still visible today.



That same night, after shooting,

we extras were relaxing.



We drank a little and played cards.



Klaus Kinski became irate

and aggressive over this.



Apparently he wanted to show

that he was a tough guy...



...and with his Winchester he shot

three bullets into our hut.



We were    men cramped together

in there and he wounded one of us.



He shot off his fingertip. There

was so much blood, I was afraid...



...that the man was hit in the body,

but it was only the middle finger.



The extra's name was Araos.



The trajectory of the bullets...



did they penetrate the roof diagonally

from above and then into the floor?



No, he shot straight

through the wall.



He hated everybody...



...was impulsive, unpredictable,

half-mad. He was not quite normal.




A diabolical character.



He always went around armed.



One day you threatened

him with death.



You couldn't take it any longer...



...when he wanted to walk out

before the end of shooting.



A lot of scenes were still missing.



And how many sacrifices

had we made?



A few days journey from Machu

Picchu, down the Urubamba river.



Here, at the rapids of the Pongo,

we shot parts of "Fitzcarraldo".



During the dry season, with

the water at its lowest level...



...this is quite harmless.



Kinski was a peculiar mixture of

physical cowardice and courage.



A wasp nearby could cause him

to scream for his mosquito net...



...and for a doctor with a syringe.



I shall never forget one moment,

that was right here in the Pongo.



We had managed to drag our

huge ship up to here, inch by inch...



...against the current. The water

rises    feet higher here...



...and then all hell breaks loose.



Both to the right and left, we had

fastened    steel cables to the rock...


            that the boat was able

to pull itself up with the winches.



All that took about eleven days...



...just to pull the boat

half a mile into these rapids.



Then something

unexpected happened.



The water rose another   feet

and the    steel cables...



...each with a diameter of   inches

were torn up with a single jerk.



The boat capsized, laying

almost horizontally in the water.



More bizarre, there was a pregnant

woman on board. The cook's wife.



The cook in mortal fear...



...looking for something vertical,

jumped on half a pig.



He clutched it and went

swinging on this pig.



Later on, he had to endure some

jokes about this of course...



Kinski knew about this incident.



We did some shooting here,

without any crew on board...



...and the boat was hurled into

the rocks with such an impact...



...that the keel was wrapped around

itself like the lid of a sardine tin.



The anchor had penetrated

the thick metal wall.



Everyone knew it,

including Kinski.



I then thought we should shoot

with a couple of cameras on board.



We had six volunteers and

suddenly Kinski said...



"If you go on board,

I'm coming with you.



If you sink, I shall sink too."



Look, you can stop it again...

at the beginning.



This is a real

gramophone needle?



No, that's a normal

sewing needle.



Paul, good luck to you.



If you fall off, I'll catch you.



What happened?






We are drifting through the Pongo!



While we were shooting, one

of the impacts was so violent...



...I remember seeing the lense

shooting out of the camera.



It flew off, and the camera man,

Thomas Mauch, I tried holding him...



...he flew    or    ft. Through

the air with me.



The camera weighs about    lbs.

He held it on his shoulder...


            hit the deck so hard that

his hand was split apart...



...between these two fingers.



What a pity, Klaus, that you

ran away before the boat struck.



But that was the whole idea!

I'm not an idiot!



We flew forward and the lens...



That's when I ran!



This lens here flew off.

- That was the idea.



The rock came even closer.



I ran back screaming:

"The engine!"



Then the impact and you flew.

Perfect timing.



There were moments, too,

when Kinski instinctively knew...



...that he went too far.



And in moments like that he

was a coward, thank God.



There was an incident

at Rio Nanay...



...that was the last phase of

the shooting of "Aguirre".



As so often, he didn't know his

lines, and would look for a victim.



Suddenly he screamed like mad:



"You pig!" meaning the

assistant camera man.



"He grinned!"



I was supposed to fire him at once.



Of course I wouldn't fire him, or

else the whole team would leave.



He suddenly packed his

things in dead earnest...



...resolved to leave our location,

packing everything in a speedboat.



I knew he had broken      

   contracts before this.



Only shortly before he

had broken up a tour.



He ruined theater engagements

and I knew he was leaving for good.



I went up to him, very composed,

by the way, I was not armed...



...later on, he tried to change

things around to save face.



I went up to him and said:

"You can't do this.



The movie is more important

than our personal emotions...



...even more important

than our persons and...



...this can't be permitted.

This simply will not be!"



He said: "No, I'm leaving now".



I told him, I had a rifle and by the

time he'd reach the next bend...



...there'd be   bullets in his head

and the ninth one would be mine.



He instinctively knew that this

wasn't a joke anymore.



He screamed for the

police like a madman.



However, the next police station

was at least     miles away.



The press later wrote that I directed

him from behind the camera...



...with a loaded rifle.



Of course, this wasn't true...



...but he was very disciplined during

the last days of shooting.



The beast had been

domesticated after all...



...and pressed into shape, so that

his true madness and energy...



...were contained within the

frame of a screen image.



I thank his cowardice

and his instincts...



...for a magnificent ending

of "Aguirre".



When we reach the sea,

we'll build a bigger boat and...



...with it we'll sail north and take

Trinidad away from the spanish Crown.



From there we'll go on and

take Mexico from Cortez.



What a great betrayal that will be!



We will then control all

of New spain...



...and we will stage history...


            others stage plays.



I, the Wrath of God...



...will marry my own daughter...



...and with her found

the purest dynasty...



...ever known to man.



Together we will rule the

whole of this continent.



We will endure.



I am the Wrath of God...



...who else is with me?



I was with him...



Kinski and I complemented each

other in a strange way.



I think, he needed me just as

much as I needed him.



Only in public, he could never admit

it. It bothered him very much.



in his autobiography, which is

highly fictitious, he describes me...



...our relationship.

I shall read some of it.



He speaks of Herzog's "derangement

insolence, imputence, brutality...



...dimwittedness, megalomania, lack

of talent" and it goes on like that.



He continous: "Any elaboration

would be a waste of time."



Nevertheless, page after page,

he comes back to me...



...almost like an

obsessive compulsion.



in some passages of this book,

I kind of had a hand in them.



I helped him to invent

particularly vile expletives.



He lived near here, a little higher

up, and we often walked along here.



Sometimes we sat on a wooden

bench, looking over the landscape...



...or we sat by this tree

musing, and he said:



"Werner, nobody will read this book

if I don't write bad stuff about you.



If I wrote that we get along well

together, nobody would buy it.



The scum only wants to hear

about the dirt, all the time."



I came with a dictionary and we tried

to find even fouler expressions.



He did use some of them and

we often laughed about it.



Yet, a lot of these outbreaks of

hatred were certainly authentic.



And this applies to both of us.



Nevertheless, we

worked together again.



"Woyzeck" was shot in the

small Czech town of Telc.



Eva Mattes was Kinski's

partner in the role of Marie.



She was one of the few women

who had anything good to say...



...about Kinski.



There, under those arches,

we shot quite a lot...



...and on the square out there too.



Kinski had arrived exhausted from

the shooting of "Nosferatu".



We had only   days in between. He

was able to grow some stubbles...



...and he was in a peculiar, fragile

and sensitive mood.



How would you describe him?

He was different with you.



Yes, that kind of exhaustion can

stimulate you to reach rare heights.



He was a very professional actor...



...the most professional

I have ever known.



And he certainly exploited this,

this fragility you just mentioned...



...which is almost like a gift for

Woyzeck, if you bring it with you...


            such a moment of exhaustion.



I respected him totally,

but it was mutual.



I was anxiously looking

forward to working with him...



...because I knew him to

be a mad actor.



I got to know him

as a powerhouse...


            just had to plug into.



Do you know how long

it has been, Marie?



At Whitsuntide it has

been two years.



And do you know

how long it will be?



I have to go and prepare supper.



- You two weren't merely actors.

- That's right.



There was a strong intuition.

He was a terribly intuitive actor.



And I am the same. There is

a scene in Woyzeck where...



...Woyzeck says to Marie:



"You have such a beautiful

mouth, and no blister on it."



The next day, I had a white blister

in the middle of my lip.



Never before in my life did I have a

blister on my lip and never after.



He saw it the following day and

made some vulgar jokes about it.



But the whole thing

was very strange.



There was a great intensity

between us, or rather he had it...



...and I had it. And I can't

describe it any further.



The situation in the film

is the following:



Marie has an affair

with a drum major.



Woyzeck, drifting towards insanity,

has reason to be suspicious.



This scene, like almost

everything in Woyzeck...



...was filmed in a single

take without a cut.



Is it still you?






...I can't see a thing.



You look so strange,

Franz. I'm frightened.



I can't see anything.



I can't see anything.



One should see it,

grab it with one's fists.



What's the matter, Franz?

Your brain is raging.



Many folks go through this lane.



You talk with whom you want.

What does it matter to me.



There... there he stood?



Like this with you?



I wish it had been me.



I can't keep people

from the street and...



...keep them from

bringing their mouths.



And not leaving their lips at home.



Such a shame,

they're so beautiful...



...but wasps like

to settle on them.



What kind of wasp

has stung you?



A sin, so thick and broad.

It stinks so badly...


            could smoke out the

little angels from heaven.



You have a red mouth, Marie...



...and no blister on it.



- Franz, you are talking in a fever!

- I saw him.



Two good eyes see

a lot in sunshine.



Did he stand there?

Like this? Like this?



As the world is...



...many people can

stand in one place.



Dare touch me, Franz!



I'd rather have a knife in my

body than your hand on mine.






...something must be on her.



Something should be on her.



Every human being is an ab yss.



You get dizzy, looking down.



innocence, you have

a sign on you.



Do I know it? Do I know it?



I didn't know him, privately,

so to speak...



...but the little that was revealed

during shooting was very friendly.



On the last day of shooting,

we took a group photo of the team.



- I was sad that shooting was over.

- Yes, you cried.



I left early, because I

couldn't keep from sobbing.



All of a sudden, I heard steps

behind me and someone said:



"Wait a moment".

It was Kinski.



He took me in

his arms, and he said:



"Eva, I know exactly how you feel."



That was so wonderful.

It did me a lot of good.



I really needed that,

and he was there.



He went to the hotel with me,

holding me the entire time...



...and he simply knew.



When I got to Cannes, I received,

I guess erroneously...



No, you deserved it!



...this prize. I received it and not

Klaus. I went to him and said:



"Well, what do you think

about my getting this prize?"



And he said: "Eva, I think only

of that walk we took together...



...from the location to the hotel,

when you cried so."



That was great. He was sitting

in the audience, applauding me...



...and he said: "Finally you're

wearing a georgeous dress!"



I had told him beforehand.

If they do give a prize...


            would have to be a joint one,

for him, as well. And he said:



"I don't care about that scum!

Why should I receive a prize?



I know that I'm a genius!



And on and on.

I said: "We all know that.



You never need to get a prize.

It just compromises you...



...and drags you to the same level

of the media, this whole circus."



That did him a lot of good.

He was very loving with me then.



He kissed me on the mouth and

held me for a long time...



...and was all broken up and

very deeply touched.



There were quite a few

moments like that between us.



It's always difficult to explain that

he also had great human warmth...



...which abruptly could turn into

rage of unimaginable proportions.



You won't tell me whether I

can scream or not!



You can lick my ass.

I'm going to smack your face.



You can count on it!



I'll kick your ass if you mouth off

to me! - Come on!



This quarrel, here,

filmed as an aside...



...was with our capable production

manager, Walter Saxer.



By some rare chance, I was

not the brunt of it this time.



I don't give a shit about your

jerking off with your friendship!



Go on making your shit!



The cause was trivial, and I didn't

bother to interfere, because Kinski...



...compared with his previous

outbreaks seemed rather mild.



I simply continued setting up

for the next scene.



- Fine, you won't get anymore.

- Pigs' slop's, that's what it is!



- You don't have to eat it.

- What, you fucking idiot?



Eat what you want.



It's worse than in a prison,

you asshole!



- You want to tell me what to eat?

- Then no food for you



He's a madman, Lucki.



Take this piece of shit away!



You can eat your own shit!



A lunatic!

He belongs in an asylum!



A madman! He's mad,

he's an idiot.



Somebody needs to hit you in

the face. You should be locked up.



I'm not finished with you,

yet, you stupid pig!



How can you let such an asshole

run your production?



You don't exist for me!



You better behave like

a human being around here.



This is outrageous.



Come on, lick my ass, man!

We're making a movie!



And we'll put you in your place

where you belong, you idiot!



Shut up!



You bother me!



These ravings were frightning and

a real problem for the indians...



...who solve their conflicts

in a totally different manner.



You are so stupid that you are

not aware of the consequences...



I don't give a shit

about the consequences.



I know! You don't fucking

care about anything!



in any case, I don't care

about your tantrums.



Nobody can live on this pig food.



Nobody can be so stupid!



Then don't eat it.



Do you understand! I'm leaving!

This is outrageous!



- Come on, let's leave it.

- Then tell him to shut his face.



Come on, just leave it alone, you

two, Walter, you and Klaus.



One of you ought to have the nerve

to stop this. Ok, let's start shooting.



We need some preparation,

I would like to rehearse again.



Klaus, I'd like to show

you what I have in mind.



Kinski's raving fits strained

things with our indian extras.



They were Machiguengas, these

two here, and a lot of Campas, too.



Normally, they speak very softly

and physical contacts are gentle.



They were afraid. They would sit

huddled together, whispering.



Towards the end of shooting one

of the chiefs came to me and said:



"You probably realized that we were

afraid, but not for one moment...



...were we scared of that screaming

madman, shouting his head off."



They were actually afraid of me,

because I was so quiet.



Kinski's fits can partly be explained

by his egocentric character.



Egocentric is perhaps not the right

word; he was an outright egomaniac.



Whenever there was a serious

accident, it became a big problem...



...because, all of a sudden, he was

no longer the center of attention.



He was no longer important.



Once, a lumberman was bitten

by a snake while cutting a tree.



This only happened once in   years,

with hundreds of woodcutters...


            the jungle who always worked

barefoot with their chain saws.



The snakes naturally flee from the

smell of gasoline and the noise.



Suddenly this chuchupe

struck the man twice.



This was the most

dangerous snake of all.



It only takes a few minutes

before cardiac arrest occurs.



He dropped the saw and thought

about it for five seconds...



...then he grabbed the saw

again and cut off his foot.



It saved his life, because the camp

and serum was    minutes away.



When that happend, I knew

Kinski would start raving...



...with some trifling excuse, because

now he was just a marginal figure.



in another incident, a plane crashed,

which was bringing   people here.



Luckily, they all survived, but

some were seriously injured.



There were confusing reports

on the radio, completely garbled...



...and Kinski saw that he was

no longer in demand.



So, he threw a fit, because his coffee

was only lukewarm that morning.



For hours he screamed at me,

that close to my face. incredible.



I didn't know how to calm him

down, and then I had an inspiration.



I went to my hut, where, for months

I had hidden a piece of chocolate.



We would almost have killed one

another for something like that.



I went back to him, going right into

his face and ate the chocolate.



All of a sudden he was quiet.

This was utterly beyond him.



Towards the end of shooting, the

indians offered to kill Kinski for me.



They said:

"Shall we kill him for you?"



And I said: "No, for God's sake!

I still need him for shooting.



Leave him to me!"



I declined, at the time, but

they were dead serious.



They would have killed him,

undoubtedly, if I had wanted it.



I at once regretted that I held the

indians back from their purpose.



The proposal to do away with

Kinski came from this Chief.



The rage the indians felt toward

Kinski was exploited for this scene.



Kinski maintained that he felt close

to the indians, but this wasn't true.



He wanted to pretend that he

was close to 'Nature's Children'...



...and thus to 'Mother Nature'.



Between Kinski and me there

was an unbridgeable gap.



This had to do with his

feeling for nature.



He stylized himself as

the 'Natural Man'.



I believe that everything he said

about the jungle was mainly posing.



He declared everything around here

erotic, but he never went near it.



He stayed in a camp for months,

but never set foot in the jungle.



Once he penetrated it for about

    feet, where a fallen tree lay.



Of course, the photographer

had to go with him...



...taking hundreds of photos of

him tenderly embracing...



...and copulating with this tree.



Poses and paraphernalia were

what mattered to him.



His alpine gear was more important

than the mountains themselves.



His camouflage combat fatigues

tailored by Yves Saint Laurent...



...were much more important

than any jungle.



in this regard, Kinski was endowed

with a fair share of natural stupidity.



The difference in our views became

most apparent during "Fitzcarraldo".



Strangely enough, we reached

some kind of tacit understanding...



...which even extended

to his ravings.



Sometimes he had an awareness

that he needed to produce a fit.



I often provoked him, making a

remark so that he would explode.



I knew he would then continue

screaming for one and a half hours.



White foam would appear at the

corners of his mouth...



...until he had emptied himself out.



At such moments Aguirre's

madness would break through.



I knew there had to be a very

quiet, very dangerous tone now.



Kinski saw it differently.

He wanted Aguirre to start raving...



...declaring himself to be the

great traitor and Wrath of God.



Deep down, he did understand me,

and hoped I would provoke him...


            he would throw

his tantrum first...



...and then we could

shoot the scene.



I am the great traitor.

There must be no other!



Anyone, even thinking about

deserting, will be cut into     pieces!



And then trampled upon until what is

left can only be used to paint walls.



Whoever takes one grain of corn...



...and one drop of water

more than his ration...



...will be locked up for     years.



If I, Aguirre, want the birds

to drop dead from the trees...



...the birds will drop dead

from the trees.



I am the Wrath of God.



The earth I pass will

see me and tremble.



Who follows me and the

river will win untold riches.



But whoever deserts...



Kinski sometimes seriously

believed that I was mad.



This isn't true of course. I am quite

sane, clinically sane, so to speak.



Nevertheless, he might have been

referring to something in particular.



Together we were like two

critical masses...



...which result in a dangerous mixture

when they come into contact.



Something that became

highly explosive.



I was never out of my senses,

but perhaps just very angry.



One day I seriously planned to

firebomb him in his house.



This was prevented only by the

vigilance of his Alsacian shepherd.



But although we kept our distance,

we'd seek out one another again...


            the right time.



We met at the Telluride Film

Festival in Colorado.



At that time we had already

made three films together.



We hadn't seen each

other for some time...



...and were looking forward

to our meeting...



...although I had just shortly before

given up my plan to murder him.



Nosferatu -Phantom of the night



You must excuse

my rude entrance.



I am Count Dracula.



I know of you.



I have read Jonathan's diary.



Since he has been

with you, he's ruined.



- He will not die.

- Yes, he will.



Dying is cruelty for the unsuspecting,

but death is not everything.



It is more cruel

not to be able to die.



I wish I could partake of the love

that's between you and Jonathan.



Nothing in this world, not

even God, can touch that.



It will not change, even if Jonathan

never recognizes me again.



I could change everything.

Come to me and be my ally...



...there'd be salvation for

your husband and for me.



The absence of love...


            the most abject pain.



Salvation comes from

ourselves alone.



And you may rest assured...



...that even the unthinkable

will not deter me.



Every gray hair on my

head I call Kinski.



Yes, I miss him.

Now and then I do miss him.



There are moments, when

he is very much alive for me.



He created a climate of

unconditional professionalism.



He used to complain about the

lighting and demanded changes.



I can remember that vividly, when

shooting at the post office in lquitos.



Something wasn't quite as it should

be and he asked for a mirror.



And as always, he was right.



He never maintained something

was wrong, when it wasn't.



He sensed with

   people on the set...



...when somebody in the back

was whispering.



Yes, the raving fit would

follow without fail.



It was almost an animal

presence that he had.



I learned something special from

him, from his physicality.



I later called it the Kinski spiral...



...meaning an appearance

from behind the camera.



If you enter the scene from the

side, showing your profile...



...and then face the camera,

there is no tension.



He developed something.



Standing next to the tripod, he

would twist his leg around...



...and this way his body had to spiral

itself organically into the picture.



If you were the camera, he would

position himself right next to it...



...and twist into frame.



This created a mysterious,

disturbing tension.



Come and play

something for the men.



He did spiral just like that, I can

remember, up on that platform...



...when we were filming

simultaneously from a helicopter.



He did it up on that platform,

and that was very dangerous...



...because it was well over

    feet up in the treetops.



Everything was swaying and

they hoisted us up there.



I can hardly believe it.



There is the Ucayali.



All the river above the

Pongo das Mortes belongs to us.



I knew it, we're going

to build a railway tunnel.






We're going to drag that

ship over the mountain.



And the bare-asses

are going to help us.



How the hell are

we going to do this?



Just like the cow

jumped over the moon.



We often understood one

another without words...



...almost like animals.



And the closeness became such

that we almost changed roles.



When we started Jason

Robards was Fitzcarraldo...



...and Mick Jagger

played his sidekick.



Jason became so ill that we had

to fly him out to the United States.



And the doctors wouldn't

permit him to return.



This church remains closed

till this town has its opera house.



I want the opera house.



I want my opera house!



I want to have an opera!



The church remains closed

until this town has an opera!



I will build my opera house!



I will build an opera!



I want to have an opera!



I knew, if I didn't get him, I'd have

to change body and role with him.



I thank God on my knees that I

didn't have to and that Kinski did it.



We had a blessed one

working there, and I am truly glad.



I met him in New York

and he was just great.



I was devastated, and he opened

a bottle of champagne and said:



"I knew it, Werner, I knew

I would be Fitzcarraldo.



I am Fitzcarraldo and

you're not going to be him...



...because I'm much better

than you.



Of course he was right.



But when I brought him to this site,

he saw how steep the terrain was.



His heart sank, and he thought, for

God's sake, this can't be done.



He saw it at once.



Our task was, to heave an

Amazon steamboat bit by bit...



...across that thing there.



Do you see that red cliff there?



Yes, I see it.



That must be it!



Good. We can't go much further,

or we'll run into a sandbank.



That slope may look insignificant...



...but it's going to be my destiny.



Strangely enough, he later became

the strongest negative force...



...which worked to break up the

project or at least change it.



When the river was swollen

and I was sitting in my hut...



...gazing at the river, which kept

rising and rising, all day long.



Suddenly there was a delegation,

which had been sent by Kinski.



They arrived with tea and said:



"Let's be calm now. Let's think

about what we can do now."



I said: "What do you mean? I am

the only one who is calm here."



Kinski wanted to protect me

from my own madness.



It was clear that Kinski, the strongest

force, had now also abandoned me.



Everyone had left me and the

loneliness for weeks was difficult.



There was nobody on my side, any

longer, who believed in the film.



Nobody. Not a single one.



Only when the boat started to

move, which was an incredible...



...mechanical, kinetic effort, Kinski

saw a chance to put enthusiasm...



...and energy into the story.



Although I felt a certain




...that he didn't fully participate until

this point, I held on to one thing.



With all the films we did together:

The only thing that counted was...



...what you would see

on the screen.



Pull harder!



I can't believe it... it works.



- It is moving. It is moving!

- It is moving!



Watch out!



For a really big boat my

money won't be enough.



You'll make it.



This here, I remember very well...



...a photo you took which served

as a model for a painting.



This was the moment when he

saw the painting for the first time.



You can see how we had

relaxed moments with one another.



But his mood changed

completely here.



Suddenly something in the

picture didn't suit him anymore...



...and he exploded and

started screaming like a berserk.



Yes, that happened from

one second to the next.



He had this capacity for becoming

a totally different person.



This polarity that manifested

itself again and again.



This became our poster.



Nobody believed, at first, that we

heaved the boat across the mountain.



You have furnished the proof

and the movie does it as well.



Yes, here's the evidence in

black and white, and on paper.



It is a great metaphor -

for what, I don't know to this day...



...but I know it's a great metaphor.



Here, 'Cobra Verde', the end.



This is where you show Kinski

how to walk in this scene.



in front of this crippled man, yes.



He had polio as a child and

you cast him in the film.



You used to act things out

for Klaus, beautifully.



We often changed parts. I could

have played this role as well.



You would have also been

a good Fitzcarraldo.



That's what you are, in reality.



I truly like this very much. It

happened because...



...he must have sensed the

presence of your camera.



He also just wanted to

let you have it, didn't he?



There you are, directing the army

of     women, Amazon warriors.



Yes, like a shepherd dog, as usual

without megaphone or loudspeaker.



Always running.



Kinski was very physical

too, but differently.



He drew everyone and I

held them together.



That's what you do and you

have done it with bravado.



We complemented each other well,

because I kept the herd together...



...and he attracted it magnetically.



You can see it in this picture here.



This is him as the leader of the

rebellion against the King...



...with this incredible, crazed

energy he posessed.



They have taken the sacred

python from the temple.



We must turn back.

Nobody gets past it alive!



Nonsense. in my country,

I was a snake myself.



Out of my way!



Seize him!



Stay back. His wives

will strangle him, now.



This scene, where slave trader

Cobra Verde tries to flee and dies...



...was the last day of shooting

that we had together.



Kinski was completely

beyond control.



He already identified himself with the

role in his own project, 'Paganini'...



...and brought with him into my

film an unpleasant climate...



...something offensive that

was alien to me.



Kinski had insisted for years that

I should direct 'Paganini'...



...but I always declined because I

considered his script unfilmable.



He finally made the film alone.



I didn't want to continue

our collaboration.



We parted ways.



in      he died in his home,

north of San Francisco.



He had spent himself. It was as

if he had burnt himself out.



He had put so much intensity

into this scene...



...that from this alone

he had emptied himself out.



This should have been filmed

at the start of shooting.



in any case, he had spent himself.

He burned away like a comet.



Afterwards he was ashes.



This is what I sensed, and he

himself said something similar.



He said: "We can go no further.



I am no more."



Sometimes I want to put

my arm around him again...



...but I guess I only dream of this

because I've seen it in old footage.



We are friends,

we joke with one another...


            if it had always been that way.



And yet we belonged together.



We were ready to

go down together.



I see us back in the

jungle, together in a boat.



The whole world belongs to us.



But Klaus seems

to want to fly away.



Shouldn't I have noticed, that it was

his soul that wanted to flutter away?



Then I see him with a

butterfly, softly, delicately.



The little creature doesn't want

to leave him, and is so unafraid...



...sometimes it seems to me that

Klaus himself turns into a butterfly.



Everything that

weighed on us is gone.



And even though my

mind revolts against it...



...something deep

inside tells me...



...this is the way I'd like to keep

him in my memory.



I am not the official church Jesus!



He wasn't quite normal... aggressive...






...his character was diabolical...



Together we were like

two critical masses...



...which made for a dangerous

combination when coming in contact.



Take the camera and shoot that shit!



- I won't do that, Mr. Kinski.

- We'll see about that!






I removed him from that scene. Kinski

raved, calling me a megalomaniac...



...I told him, that makes two of us!



What was the reason for

putting myself through this?



We belonged together.



We were willing to go down together.



Egocentric probably isn't

the right word.



He was a downright egomaniac.



The earth I walk upon

sees me and quakes!



Follow me!



He would scream at me for hours,

two inches away from my face.






Kinski tried to protect me

from my own insanity.



He was also very loving

with me then...



...and would kiss me and hold me...



...and could also bevery

emotional and very touched.



The only thing that counted in the

end was the result on screen.


Special help by SergeiK