During the 1800s, paroled Brazilian bandit Cobra Verde is sent to West Africa with a few troops to man an old Portuguese fort and to convince the local African ruler to resume the slave trade with Brazil.
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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 »
When Cobra Verde (Kinski) arrives at Elmina for the first time with ten rifles as gifts, he opens up the roll of weapons and pulls out a Lee-Enfield .303 bolt action rifle, a piece that began service with the British only in 1895 - long after the events at Dahomey and Elmina actually occurred. See more »
In principle, I would feel tempted to give it only a six. Except that then there are "buts"... But there is Werner Herzog. But there is the sociopathically brilliant Klaus Kinski. But there is that unforgettable final scene. But there is the historic memory behind the story. But there are silent scenes of sheer contemplation. But there is the image of the fortress of Elmina (originally Ajudá, or Ouidah), that lingers long after you have seen the movie. But there is the amazing sensuality of all those female-warriors in beautiful war outfits. But there is that young girl singing near the end, the lavish, teasing, provocative, self-assured look on her face, the expression in her eyes, the crystalline/aggressive sound of her voice. And 'but' there is the music. If you have read Bruce Chatwin's novel, you will be able to add up some details to the story line. The horror of the Kingdom of Daomé, for instance, is far from what BC described himself - and actually far from what history books tell us. In fact, you could build endless stories inside this movie. That's what makes it so good: all the things missing. It could have been a better achievement, but for all it's worth, it's really not the kind of movie you're likely to forget after a few weeks!
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