Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Man Is An Abyss...

Popol Vuh - Aguirre I

One of the funniest films I own is "My Best Fiend", Werner Herzog's documentary about his relationship with Klaus Kinski. It always cheers me up. That tells you a lot about me, doesn't it.

Herzog threatens to shoot Kinski if he walks off set. The Indians offer to kill Kinski for Herzog. The insanely listing ship during the filming of Fitzcarraldo - do they stop? No! Herzog telling the nice middle class couple that when Kinski lived in their apartment, he slept in leaves and wandered around naked. Kinski's Jesus lectures, and the miracle that no one put him in hospital for such immense, objectionable ego. Kinski's mad rants, Herzog's wry smile. They finish the camerawork for Nosferatu and start on Woyzeck five days later, pausing only to let Kinski grow his hair a little. Five days!

And what is the result of all the torment, tantrums and death threats? Great art, no less. Because they were great artists. Simple.

Opposite the infernal Kinski you have the beatific Florian Fricke. Both have now sadly departed this world, but I wouldn’t bet on them being in the same place. Fricke, of course, operated under the name of Popol Vuh, and was responsible for some of the best German progressive music in the 70's. "Affenstunde" is a beautiful album: I used to listen to it on repeat, letting it arc around for hours.

But here's his theme from Aguirre, The Wrath of God, which accompanies the slow, slow descent of the Conquistadors and their slaves down the mountain. I can't get the image of descent out of my mind when I hear it, nor can I stop myself jarring the soft music against the harsh face of Kinski. Nor can I stop myself from thinking about Joy Division.

So there you go. Think I'll watch a Terry Thomas film now....

Buy - Popol Vuh - Aguirre
Buy - Werner Herzog Box Set 1
Buy - Werner Herzog Box Set 2
Visit - Popol Vuh
Visit - Senses of Cinema


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