Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kinski Paganini (1989)

Klaus Kinski is said to believed he was some kind of reincarnation of the great violinist Paganini, and Kinski Paganini (though the title only is "Paganini" on the title card) certinally tries to prove that. Written, directed and edited by Klaus Kinsi, starring his wife at the moment - as his wife, and his son Nikolai as his son in the movie, this is probably the closest we're ever gonna get to a movie of Kinski's life.

There's no point telling what's it about, because it's more of a ninty minute long montage than anything else. Kinski has hardly any dialogue and everything is told by intensive cinematography, voice over's from other characters and lots and lots of slow-motion and quite graphic sex-scenes! So don't expect a normal movie by any means, this is a dive into the psyche of Kinski and it's a very unique experience. The script jumps back and forth, shocking symbolism edited into other scenes and Kinski is in almost every frame of the movie. Kinski throws out punches to everyone possible, from the church and politicians, to other artists and the hypocrisy in the society. The movie actually begins with a priest (or higher religious figure) coming to the dying Paganini to try to convert him to a good christian, but are beaten by his son and chased out from the mansion. 

Characters are talking about Paganini as they talked about Kinski, a whore mongler, monster, sexual deviant, psychopath and so on, and Kinski obviously was aware of the names people was giving him, and this almost feels like a way to also show that he wasn't that. His love for his son (and in real life his son was very important to him) and the love to his mother, someone he looks back to over and over again in the movie. It takes time to watch Kinski Paganini, but you'll be rewarded I think. The ending is powerful, a mad and sick Paganini playing the last time on his violin, in a more absurd and manic frenzy for every frame.

This also became Kinski's last movie. He more or less retired after this, tired with the industry and movie making. Though it was universally loathed when it was released, and still is among some people, this is a fantastic movie. It's a production I admire a lot, and the scenes of a werewolf-like Kinski standing in the darkness of the theater hearing the ovations from the audience of sexually aroused females, is pure poetry. Darkness yeah, this is shot in natural lighting and nothing looks artificial. It's dark, moody, and with a lot of hand-camera. It's both the essence of European arthouse cinema and a "fuck you" at the same to that kinda of important cinema that would loath the techniques he used to made this movie. 

I have the original VHS that was released some years ago, but not the DVD. Both are since long OOP and this is a movie that really deserves a good old remastering and a fat special edition!


Alex B. said...

Love this film, very unusual.
That slow-motion overkill is quite something!
Some of the production crew of this is also responsible for "Lucio Fulci presents" series of trash horrors.

dfordoom said...

I'd love to see this movie. I had no idea it had ever been released on DVD.