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.
...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
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...
...you stupid pig!
And if only one of you wants...
...to 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
...now 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.
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...
...as 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?
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...
...to 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...
...in 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
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...
...theater 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.
...in the urine of a
donkey in heat...
...in snakes' poison,
old hags' spittle...
...in dog shit and
...in wolf's milk, gall of o xen
and flooded latrines.
in this juice...
...thou shalt stew
in a tomcat's brain
who ceased to fish...
...in the foam that dribbles
from the teeth of rabid dogs...
...mixed with monkey's piss,
in bristles from a hedgehog torn...
...in a rain barrel,
where vermin crawl...
...perished rats and the
festering slime of...
...toad-stools, glowing at night...
...in 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.
THE WRATH OF GOD
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
...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
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...
...as if the grace of God was with
this film and with me.
As if I were witnessing
...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!
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...
...in 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
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.
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...
...so 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.
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,
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
No, that's a normal
Paul, good luck to you.
If you fall off, I'll catch you.
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...
...it 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:
Then the impact and you flew.
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.
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
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...
...as 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...
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
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.
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...
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...
...in 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...
...you 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...
...you 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...
...it 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 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!
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!
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...
...in 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.
"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...
...so 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
...which result in a dangerous mixture
when they come into contact.
Something that became
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...
...at 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...
...is the most abject pain.
Salvation comes from
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
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
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,
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
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.
I can't believe it... it works.
- It is moving. It is moving!
- It is moving!
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
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
...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.
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!
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
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
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...
...as 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.
weighed on us is gone.
And even though my
mind revolts against it...
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!
He would scream at me for hours,
two inches away from my face.
MY BEST FRIEND
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.