Klaus Kinski believed that he lived through the same experiences as the legendary "devil violinist" Niccolò Paganini, who set all of nineteenth-century Europe into a frenzy and through ... See full summary »
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Klaus Kinski believed that he lived through the same experiences as the legendary "devil violinist" Niccolò Paganini, who set all of nineteenth-century Europe into a frenzy and through whose personality Kinski offers an incredibly profound and honest insight into his own life; a life of extremities. Written by
I watched Paganini for the first time, then ran to watch bits of Fitzcarraldo again. I just realized why: It was the armchair cineaste's equivalent of taking a shower to rinse the muck off after watching Paganini.
I needed to watch Fitzcarraldo to remind myself that, yes, Kinski was a great actor. And he was.
I never thought I'd actually find a genuine-article case of this, but in Paganini you have Kinski finally using film--and his fans--as a full-tilt surrogate for his fading fantasy that he's the rooster in the barnyard.
It really is shameless. People thought that Woody Allen used film like this way long after he shoulda. Well, guess what? Allen is a piker.
If you're curious to see a great film star at his lowest ebb in this particular regard, watch Paganini.
Now, people in these comments extol the natural lighting, Kinski's raw magnetism, the unstudied editing, the artful inattention to technique in general, genuinely moving scenes of familial love, etc., etc. Yes, all those things are arguably there. I'm not just being conciliatory for rhetorical effect. But there comes a time when you have to admit the evidence of what you're seeing before your very eyes, and the conclusion is inescapable: Kinski is jerking off at our expense. He's not just exercising an eccentric degree of artistic license. He's lost in unfiltered, unsublimated sexual self-aggrandizement.
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