The feared bandit Cobra Verde (Klaus Kinski) is hired by a plantation owner to supervise his slaves. After the owner suspects Cobra Verde of consorting with his young daughters, the owner ... See full summary »
Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to speak or walk, and bearing a strange note;... See full summary »
The inhabitants of an institution in a remote country rebel against their keepers. Their acts of rebellion are by turns humorous, boring and alarming. An allegory on the problematic nature ... See full summary »
This film shows the disaster of the Kuwaitian oil fields in flames. In contrast to the common documentary film there are no comments and few interviews. What must have been the hell itself ... See full summary »
German-American Dieter Dengler discusses his service as an American naval pilot in the Vietnam War. Dengler also revisits the sites of his capture and eventual escape from the hands of the Vietcong, recreating many events for the camera.
1984 documentary film directed by Werner Herzog about children soldiers in Nicaragua. The film focuses on a group of Miskito Indians who used children soldiers in their resistance against the Sandinistas.
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 »
Herzog's documentary of the Wodaabe people of the Sahara/Sahel region. Particular attention is given to the tribe's spectacular courtship rituals and 'beauty pageants', where eligible young... See full summary »
The feared bandit Cobra Verde (Klaus Kinski) is hired by a plantation owner to supervise his slaves. After the owner suspects Cobra Verde of consorting with his young daughters, the owner wishes him gone. Rather than kill him,the owner sends Cobra Verde to Africa. The only white man in the area, Cobra Verde finds himself the victim of torture and humiliation. Later, he trains soldiers in a rebel army. Far from home, Cobra Verde is on the edge of madness. Written by
Ken Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Was originally picked up for U.S. theatrical distribution by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, but the theatrical release intended for the U.S. was cancelled after DEG fell into bankruptcy. It would not get released in the U.S. until the year 2000, when Anchor Bay released it on DVD and VHS for the first time in the U.S. See more »
The kingdom of Dahomey, where the African part of the story is allegedly set, was in present day Benin, while Elmina Castle is located in present day Ghana, 500 km to the West. See more »
From famous German director Werner Herzog - a man who's cinematic penchants usually include documentary-style visuals (stark but not shaky!), stories centering on man's loss of sanity, destructive ambition (or lack thereof) and outsiders, and larger than life characters - comes his last "big" film. To put it more aptly, his last film with famously bonkers actor Klaus Kinski. Both men had a famously sadomasochistic relationship and in this last effort, Kinski was reputedly totally out of control.
"Cobra Verde" marks the breaking point between these two great man. the point where Herzog and Kinski moved too far apart to ever consider working together again, the director evolving into too much of a control adept, and the leading man moving way beyond the safe boundaries of sanity. Yet the film is an extreme as a result and will divide audiences. But in truth how can this be a negative aspect: a film you either love or hate is at least interesting in most cases.
The story of bandit Cobra Verde, sent to Africa - by his former employer as a punishment for impregnating most of his daughters - to reestablish slave trade and battle an opposing bloodthirsty African tribal king, is in itself interesting and unusual enough to arouse interest, but barely suffices to convey the numerous delicacies within the film. Kinski's possessed turn may not be an adequate incarnation of the character, yet it is a powerhouse performance if only for the sheer energy deployed. And for once, Kinski is not the only raving lunatic and Herzog peppers the screenplay with often creepy and dark but hysterical lines and memorable situations and characters.
What may disturb many beyond the chaos on show is the casual cruelty on display at times. It is adequate for once. The black man is treated with as much political correctness as must have been the case in real life at the time (perhaps even somewhat less). On the other front, watching this you actually feel the suffocating heat that slowly burns away the dignity of these characters and makes them animals, sometimes far less than that. The film's mood is perfectly rendered and Herzog's visuals are surprisingly artistic and classy at times, for a film-maker preferring a more "cinéma-vérité" approach.
In the end, "Cobra Verde" is a cinematic oddity because of its taste for extremes (though they never hurt the film's own coherence and internal logic) in every sense. Nonetheless, neither Kinski nor Herzog ever displayed such artistic courage (or sheer lunacy) at any other point of their respective careers, and that's saying something!
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