Please Kill Mr. Kinski (1999)

Please Kill Mr. Kinski (1999) Directed by David Schmoeller

A perfect, witty riff on parodying a calamitous predicament and rendering it into a merciless, sardonic documentary sketch film. “Roll sound, roll camera, and Klaus!” whatever you might say, don’t you dare utter the directors’ favorite word – “action”- because if there’s one word Kinski can’t abide hearing during a shoot, it’s that one. Much has been conjectured and much has been affirmed – much has been seen on screen, some only heard in speech – about the countless altercations Kinski had with all the filmmakers he worked with, with Werner Herzog being the most infamous/famous of all his contentious encounters. But David Schmoeller’s troubled production of Crawlspace, stemming from Kinski’s unquenchable rage, is not far behind, and this succinct, exquisitely funny short film is proof of it, David Schmoeller himself chronicles all that transpired during the filming, striving for the impossible: directing a tyrannical Kinski. Even the Italian producer of Crawlspace suggested murdering him, according to what I’ve read, there’s some truth to it, he actually had a whole master plan to pull it off. But among the many maddening incidents Schmoeller details about Kinski, what really makes this brief piece of meta-reflective cinematic recollection shine, is the seamless transition from hatred to admiration that Schmoeller’s account goes through from minute one to the end. Sure, Kinski was a despicable human being, but when it came to acting, he was one of the finest.


Matteo Bedon

Written by

Editor and Official Film Critic at

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