Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Babies; Geniuses

Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski are standing by their car on the side of a desert road. The car is a beat-up Chevy right out of one of those movies in which two characters travel the  USA in a similar beat-up Chevy. It is midday and hot. Werner examines the open hood, while Klaus paces angrily past the driver’s side.

Klaus: I hope the buzzards peck your eyes out.

Werner looks up from his work.

Werner: You know how I don’t like birds. I don’t appreciate your bringing them up. (He stares at the engine). There is no intelligence behind their eyes. They are soulless and monstrous and an unfair antagonist. Hitchcock knew this. (Pause) Do you know anything of carburetors?

Klaus: No.

Werner:  You are the shit of the world.

(Klaus takes a drag on a cigarette)

Klaus: Anyway, we are not wet.

Werner: What is this?

Klaus: We are not wet. The last time you and I were in such intolerable proximity, you had dragged me to the rainforest for the second time, and it was wet. You told me we were making a movie, Werner, not that I was to fall victim to pneumonia.

(The camera cuts to a small hill overlooking the two artists. A bear observes them silently from the hill’s crest. Small bits of clothing dangle from the bear’s mouth, including what is very clearly a wristwatch).

Klaus: Why must you always attempt to kill me in the name of cinema, Werner?

Werner: Kinski. We are not making a movie now, and you are not nearly dead. And I try to kill you because more people will watch the movie if you actually expire. I plan to build a grotto off the profits.

(Klaus looks shocked)

Werner: No such thing, now. Everyone thinks I’m such a serious damn artist. Well, they are right, but I do not starve.

Klaus: You would kill me for money?

Werner: I would kill you for far less. Certain small trinkets. Birdshot. A woman’s promise.

Klaus: Women find you repellent.

Werner: I cast you in Nosferatu because you actually look like the undead, so let us not go comparing appeal.

Klaus: Vampires have great power over the opposite sex, but that is not the point. Every time you make a movie that is not one of your horrid documentaries, you cast me as the lead. Were I do die, what would you do for your next piece of tripe?

Werner:  Very likely, find someone who does not act as if he were an underpaid prostitute trying to get off early.

(Klaus whirls around)

Klaus: What did you say to me?

Werner: I’m sorry, Klaus. I know how you hate being compared to your mother.

(Klaus storms toward Werner)

Werner: Or was it your father? I suppose after the war, jobs were hard to come by for amateur fascistii, so they took what they could get!

(Klaus is, by this point right in Werner’s face)

Klaus: Herzog.

Werner: Kinski.

(Klaus pushes him aside and starts to work on the car)

Klaus: You living shit. I have found this now. I will pack you in the back of this trunk and drive off with you to a dark place where the eyes of man do not reach, and I will consume you.

(Klaus is working with surprisingly alacrity at this point)

Klaus: I will do this because I am a hero of all humanity. You are too dangerous to live, Herzog, and too toxic to bury, so I will consume you. Before nature takes its course, I will build a pyre and throw myself atop it when the fire is at its height. I will be the hungry torch that removes the curse of Werner Herzog from this world, because I, Klaus Kinski, am the wrath of God, and you are the Anti-Christ.

(Klaus slams the hood down)

Klaus: AND MY PARENTS WERE NOT CATAMITES!

(Werner turns the key. The car turns over. He claps his hands in delight.)

Werner: You see!  I have ever been able to inspire you to the heights of greatness. You are very talented when you’re angry.

Klaus: What?

(He shakes his head)

Klaus: What happened? I blacked out there for a moment.

Werner: Funny. That’s exactly what your mother said after I was done with her.

Klaus: Herzog!

Werner: Or was it your father?

(Klaus lunges at Werner, but is stopped short by a loud growl. The bear is now less than twenty feet away from them, standing on its hind legs. The wristwatch dangles from the beast’s jaws, and finally dislodges, shattering on the ground. The two men freeze)

Werner: This all seems so familiar.

Klaus: Suddenly my desire to see you dismembered has waned.

Werner: Nature is hostile to us. Why did we ever leave Los Angeles?

Klaus: No one is going to be interested in you and me if nice things happen to us, Werner.

(The bear roars again. Hillbilly music plays. Klaus and Werner dive for the steering wheel. The screen freezes.)

No comments: