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.
In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »
Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people, this film shows how the deaf and blind... 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 <email@example.com>
Werner Herzog had the end credits play over the young girls dancing and singing because he felt the film dealt so much with the negative aspects of Africa that he needed to show something positive, too. 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 »
Poor Singing Musician:
That will cost you money. Ladies and gentlemen, you'll have to pay up, If you want me to sing the ballad of Francisco Manoel, The bandit Cobra Verde, The poorest of the poor, The master of the slaves, It was he who became Viceroy, It was he who was the Alonest of the Alone.
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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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