Love your enemies and drive them crazy

  • 2005-05-18
  • By Ksenia Repson
TALLINN - There are millions of ways to get back at your enemies, and one of them is to love them. Director Werner Herzog loved his best actor Klaus Kinski very much, as much as he hated him. Once Klaus said that they had a mutual soul and body. Was it true?

The only way to know for sure is to taste the fruits of their work. In cooperation with Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Soprus cinema has brought a new and unique event to the city's cultural life 's a program named My beloved enemy Klaus Kinski.

The charismatic director-actor duo has created an exhibit that will leave most Tallinn museums vacant. The story of the two men's lives will be told twice: Once in an exhibition of movie still slides, the second time in a film itself.

The art show will take place June 2 - 29 on the 6th floor of The National Library. The exhibition's cinematographer, Beat Presser has worked on three movies with the most criticized German film directors. And the exhibit is pure testimony to his talent.

Herzog (real name Werner H. Stipetic) said that when he was 14 years old, he knew that he would be making films. Once he met Kinski, Herzog added, he knew he would be making films with him.

The director was born in Munich on Sept. 5, 1942 and grew up in a remote mountain village in Bavaria. He worked the nightshift as a welder in a steel factory to finance his first films and made his first movie in 1961. Since then, Herzog has produced, written, and directed more than 40 films and short documentaries, published books of prose, and directed operas. The director prefers to control the whole process of making a film. Herzog never attended a film school, but nevertheless the number of prizes he's won is impressive. Among them are the Special Award in Cannes (1975) and several Federal Film Prizes.

A beloved actor with astonishingly pale skin, Kinski (birth name Nikolaus Gunther Nakszynski), the father of Nastassja Kinski, was born into poverty in Poland on Oct.18, 1926. He grew up in Berlin, was drafted into the German army and spent much of World War II as a British POW.

Kinski began acting in films, showing a sheer lack of discrimination as to their quality (a complete filmography is almost impossible to establish). Over time, his driven and obsessive character gained international fame for collaboration with Herzog.

Among the films to be shown at the National Library are "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" (1972), a story that takes place a few decades after the destruction of the Inca Empire, when a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and floats the Amazon, searching for gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirres, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. "Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht" (1979) is another Herzog classic.

Jonathan Harker is sent away to Count Dracula's castle to sell him a house in Virna, where he lives. But the infamous vampire only has blood on his mind. Inspired by a photograph of Lucy Harker, Jonathan's wife, Dracula moves to Virna, bringing with him death and plague.

But perhaps the film where Kinski shines the most is "Fitzcarraldo" (1982), where the formidably talented actor plays the title role of an obsessed opera lover who wants to build an opera in the Amazon jungle. He must first make a fortune in the rubber business, and his cunning plan involves hauling an enormous riverboat across a small mountain 's a scene that will indulge as much as surprise you. Herzog won the Best Director prize at the Cannes Festival for this masterpiece.

As for the two artists' relationship, it began with rage: In the 1950s, when Herzog was 13, he was sharing an apartment with Kinski - a total egomaniac. As the story goes, one day Kinski destroyed every piece of furniture in an unabated 48-hour fit of anger. It was from this chaos that a beautiful, albeit volatile, friendship was born.