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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cinema of Werner Herzog,
This review is from: Werner Herzog (DVD)I'm of the opinion that Werner Herzog is one of the three best filmmakers of the past thirty years. What really distinguishes greatness, in my mind, is a personal stamp on every film. Knowing that whatever movie they make, whether it's from an original source or an adaptation, it will be theirs completely. Take a look at one scene, one frame from any movie and you'll know who made it-- that's the case with guys like Kubrick and Burton from a visual stand-point. I never found Herzog to be that visually distinct, although there's no doubt his is unique. It's really in his scene set-up, the poetry of his moving visuals, and the content and psychology of his characters which distinguish Herzog from the rest. The films are packed with imagery and fascinating characterizations. It's our luck that Kinski found Herzog, as the two compliment each other and go hand-in-hand. Here I will review three of the films in this collection, three of history's best.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God has been compared to Shakespeare, the psychological fall from grace of Kinski's character as he leads this doomed expedition. From the opening frame, Herzog seems to foreshadow the impending failure of the journey, with the music and visual imagery. At one point, he actually points the camera at rapids for two full minutes. At first, we ask 'what?' but then we realize these rapids look less like flowing water, and more like bubbling, boiling waters. The water seems to be flowing right above hell's fires. Aguirre hopes and hopes that the city of gold is just a bit further down stream, but as he commands the expedition further, he falls further into insanity. Like Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Aguirre is the product of pure greed and power. His motivation is pure enough (riches), but his madness betrays him until it climaxes to monkeys. Aguirre is a difficult film to watch with its cynicism and ugly look, but it's a worthwhile experience.
Nosferatu is both a re-tread of Murneau's classic and an apocalyptic vision at the same time. At one point Jonathan, the lead, passes through the Transilvanian wilderness and we're treated to an endless shot of the moving sky. The feeling of dread Herzog creates here has never been matched. The whole film has an eerie quality, yet it's grounded into reality, almost as a documentary. When finally dracula has reached society, we're no longer in 'horror-movie' territory, but we watch the plague unfold into a full-fledged apocalypse. We get a feeling of how the bubonic plague really felt. It falls into a psychologically deranged state, as we realize just how quietly deadly the Nosferatu is. Society crumbles before our eyes, as people celebrate their demise on the streets while the rats slowly take over. If it sounds depressing, it is, but this cynicism is not without basis. You cannot blame Herzog, or Kinski, for turning the camera not on life's fiction, but on its' fact. Here, and in his their work, Herzog exposes the inconsistencies and darknesses of life. Not that these are new themes explored in film, other giants such as Kubrick and Polanski have made careers of it, but I'm not sure it's ever been done with this level of poetry.
Fitzcarraldo, I believe is his most satisfying. I'm not going to say it's his most optimistic, but as compared to Herzog's other work, it's his happiest and most triumphant. Fitzcarraldo is Kinski's most accessible character, because he, the dreamer is within all of us. Of course the greed of Aguirre is in all of us, as is the evil of Nosferatu, but the dreaming, ambitious state of Fitzcarraldo is something we should be proud of as humans. All logic dictates that his crazy plans will fail, but new ideas which do not leave us are there for a reason. In Fitz's case, building an opera in the middle of the jungle is his goal, and in order to finance this, he must reach an unreachable area of the jungle by dragging a ship over land. Fitz is not the kind who represses his ambitions, and that's all I will say about the story. The movie chronicles his journey and culminates into the most satisfying end of any Herzog film.
The bottom line is, the films by modern standards are very weird, and European. They are slower paced as well, but they're classics for a reason. The psychology of the characters, the intensity of Kinski, the music of Popol Vuh, and the poetry of the cinematography are all in a cinematic top form.
Initially, I actually didn't enjoy Herzog's films. The films bubbled in my mind over time, and I couldn't ignore the impact. Soon I had to watch them again. I became an instant fan.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Agony and the Ecstasy,
This review is from: Werner Herzog (DVD)For any fan of film, this is one of the most impressive, reasonably priced box sets you could ever hope to find. Contained within are all the collaborations between manic, visionary German director Werner Herzog and his crazed, international movie star muse Klaus Kinski. Both men have had prolific careers, yet nothing they have done separately has achieved the splendor of their collected efforts together. Indeed, in his review of "Woyzeck", Roger Ebert says,
"It is almost impossible to imagine Kinski without Herzog; reflect that this `unforgettable' actor made more than 170 films for other directors--and we can hardly remember a one."
Wherever their individual paths took them, this box set stands as a monument to the magic between them. Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog together created films of extraordinary imagery, significant depth, and possessed artistry of the highest caliber. Included in this box set are the five films they did together: "Aguirre", "Nosferatu", "Woyzeck", "Fitcarraldo", and "Cobra Verde". Also included is one of the most fascinating documentaries about filmmakers and filmmaking ever, "My Best Fiend", Herzog's love/hate letter about his relationship with the volatile actor. Each work is unique in scope, vision, theme and performance. If the documentary explains why no director other than Herzog worked with Kinski more than once, their five films together amply demonstrate why Kinski never lacked for work. His on-screen presence is unparalleled and his performances perfectly measured for each role. The DVD set is a repackaging of their prior individual releases, containing the same extras. All films are presented in their original aspect ratio.
In summing up the sheer value of this set, one should consider the sublime effect of "My Best Fiend". In chronicling his relationship with Kinski, Herzog inadvertently shows how he was equally a figure who straddled the line between genius and madman during their productions. Although they gave each other their worst, they also brought out the best in the other. It is as palpable a symbiotic relationship as you will ever see between two human beings, and it can be witnessed on every frame of these five films. As Herzog said to Roger Ebert when describing his first encounter with Kinski as a youth,
"At that moment I knew it was my destiny to make films, and his to act in them.''
This set is a tribute to that revelation, and a must for anyone who savors the artistry of filmmaking.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection, Great Additions and Price,
This review is from: Werner Herzog (DVD)Ok, somebody got it right. Put together a solid, comprehensive collections of films, add a good documentary and then give the dedicated folks a break on the price. Herzog may not be the easiest director to make sense of at first, but over any two of these films you begin to get the power and the vision he was working with. Kinski is no different. It's an intensity that we don't view, let alone experience, enough, and yet seeing it in raw form provides access to more subtle degrees of emotion.
Four/five films are exceptional, and the last COBRA VERDE is still worth every minute after viewing the BEST FIEND documentary in the set. Kinski was so exhausted (spiritually) after playing the part that I don't believe he ever acted in a movie again.
While both made other films apart from each other, these joint-adventures bring out each of their purity. Taken as a whole, the combination is one of the greats in cinema or any other arts (like Bernstein and Copland). Provides an amazing and unique view of the human endeavor. You'll never forget it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Pre Ordered the Moment I Saw It,
This review is from: Werner Herzog (DVD)This is a gift from the Gods. All the combined works of Kinski and Herzog in one packaged set. I pre-ordered it the minute I saw it. Just having "Nosferatu," "Aguirre," "Fitcarraldo" and "My Best Fiend," in a set would be cause enough for joy. But ALL of their movies together is fantastic. If you are a film fanatic, you cannot live without having this most shining moment of German film. If it ever goes out of release, you will be able to sell it for a fortune as a collector's item, if you can bear to part with it. I separately review the movies in here under their own titles so will not attempt to do that here.
5.0 out of 5 stars Herzog & Kinski & Yin & Yang,
This review is from: Werner Herzog (DVD)I always think of them together, Herzog and Kinski. Cinematic Yin and Yang. The best and worst that the world has to offer. The films they made together are their respective crowning
achievements, achingly hypnotic, synchronous and chaotic. Their relationship, as explained in "My Best Fiend," was a joyous nightmare, born in a place that resides between heaven and hell. Screaming mad, death threats, insanity, perfection on film. All of Kinski's characterizations are the most believable interpretations of the most unbelievable characters imaginable, several are real people from the cobwebbed corners of world history! Kinski was a timebomb, and Herzog was his fuse, and his muse. Herzog should get a Nobel prize for not having killed Kinski, brought him back to life, and killed him again! He tolerated Kinski's intolerable behavior to make Art. It must have been like painting on a canvas that spits back at you. Herzog rose above it all to helm some of the most amazing films the world has known. 5 excellent and astounding dramas, and a posthumous "love letter," that must be seen. What magic from such an unpleasant relationship, there really must be some kind of balance in nature for such a conundrum to bless us. 6 miracles in a box, how often is that offered us?
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECTION!!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Werner Herzog (DVD)I've had the VHS versions of these films for a while now and they're the first I'd grab in the event of a house fire! The combination of Herzog, Kinski and Popol Vuh is even better than Edwards, Sellers, Mancini or Leone, Eastwood and Morricone. If you love this collection than the only thing missing is the CD - "Best of Popol Vuh- the Films of Werner Herzog". If you can't decide which of these films to watch at a given moment, just pop in this CD and enjoy them all!!
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Director/Actor Teams Ever,
By A Customer
This review is from: Werner Herzog (DVD)Once in a while in life we accidentally happen across a great artist or work of art, and when that happens it is an exciting thrill. I'm excited and thrilled to recommend The Herzog/Kinski Collection.
To give some perspective of who I am (and whether your taste in films might be similar to mine), I love the movies of Alfred Hitchcock, Sergio Leone, Orson Welles, and Akira Kurosawa. "Once Upon a Time in the West," "Rear Window," "The Seven Samurai," "Citizen Kane," "Ikiru," "Dr. Strangelove," "Vertigo," and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" are among my very favorite movies.
I won't give away any of the details of these films, other than to say that Kinski delivers some of the most intensely subtle and passionate acting you'll ever see, and Herzog provides visuals that are relaxed, beautiful, scary and thrilling...all at a pace that is slower and more absorbing (and ultimately more rewarding) than standard Hollywood fare. "Fitzcarraldo" alone is worth the price of this set, and "My Best Fiend" is an excellent introduction to Herzog/Kinski's insane, creative teamwork.
I cannot recommend this set highly enough. An undiscovered gem (at least here in Texas!), the teamwork of Herzog and Kinski is astonishingly fascinating to see, and incredibly entertaining. These are not movies full of noise, explosions, and fast flashing edits...these are films you will dream about afterwards. The best kind of art.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars aguirre aspect ratio,
This review is from: Werner Herzog (DVD)I'm responding to the previous reviewer. The Aguirre film was shot and shown in 1:33, not in widescreen, so the dvd has the correct aspect ratio. My Best Fiend was shot in widescreen, so the clips from Aguirre were masked to fit the film. As for Nosferatu, there were two versions shot-one in German and one in English. I bought these dvds separately, and my copy of Nosferatu has both versions on it. If this set only contains the German version, you might be more interested in buying these titles separately. ...
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Technical details addition,
This review is from: Werner Herzog (DVD)I'd like to add some technical details for this DVD-set:
This DVD-set can't be with region 1 code, because my DVD-player is with region code 2 and plays this DVD-set complete. It must have region code 0.
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Werner Herzog by Werner Herzog (DVD - 2004)
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