The complex and volatile relationship between Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski is one that will live on in film history forever. The two first met when Herzog was 13, sharing an apartment in the 1950s. While living together, Kinski had a 48 hour fit of rage which resulted in the destruction of all furniture in sight. Despite this chaotic event, the two came together to create some of the most iconic films of all time.
In 1972, their partnership reached its apex with Aguirre, The Wrath of God. As well as directing the masterpiece, Herzog also wrote the script while Kinski played the lead role. It was an intense experience but it yielded remarkable results; Aguirre has since been regarded by many as one of the greatest films ever made. Following this success, they collaborated on four more legendary films: Nosferatu The Vampyre (1979), Woyzeck (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982) and Cobra Verde (1987).
The dynamic between these two men has been given its own documentary: My Best Fiend (1999), directed by Herzog himself. In it, viewers gain insight into their difficult friendship – how they often clashed and argued but still managed to continue working together for decades. This documentary is essential viewing for any cinephile; it’s a unique look at creativity and personality clashes behind-the-scenes of some of cinema’s greatest works. My Best Fiend is not only an ode to Herzog’s friendship with Kinski but a celebration of their legacy too – so be sure to give it a watch!