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Cobra Verde1987

  • 4.1
Werner Herzog’s final collaboration with Klaus Kinski was, like FITZCARRALDO and AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD before it, a fact-inspired saga of exotic physical adventure whose production was nearly as arduous as the events depicted. Based on Bruce Chatwin’s novel "The Viceroy of Ouidah" (which was, in turn, loosely based on the life of a real-life Brazilian slave trader), it has Kinski as a ruined rancher-turned-bandit who becomes a brutally effective participant in the slave trade between Africa and South America. Its striking landscapes found in Ghana, Colombia and Brazil, COBRA VERDE was a grotesque international tragicomedy onscreen and off; at one point, Kinski’s infamous tantrums caused Herzog’s frequent cinematographer Thomas Mauch to quit in disgust, requiring an emergency replacement in Czech DP Viktor Ruzicka. Even after production wrapped, COBRA VERDE’s troubles weren’t over: when its distribution company folded in bankruptcy, it went unreleased in the U.S. for nearly fifteen years, not appearing until nearly a decade following its star’s death. Aptly, the finished result is a fascinating fever dream of survival, madness and death, driven by Herzog’s visual mastery and Kinski’s extraordinary magnetism. - Dennis Harvey

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2 members like this review

Amazing. So sad it wasn't released until a few years ago.

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Member Reviews (16)

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Amazing. So sad it wasn't released until a few years ago.

2 members like this review
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Cobra Verde is Werner Herzog's forgotten masterpiece. A rich, lush renaissance painting of a movie; Cobra Verde forms a trilogy with Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre. Three takes on essentially the same story, the same journey - though each with a different end. Fitzcarraldo is day, Aguirre is night, and Cobra Verde is the mystic twilight between. The main complaint I see leveled at this movie is that it has too little Klaus--that and the dreamy, flowing plot--but I think it has just the right amount of him. Klaus is at his best, his most energetic, his most believable as an amoral bandit-turned-manipulative-slave-trader. This is also his most quotable role: "in my home country, I was a snake!" Contained herein is a forgotten work of deep and confounding symbolism; a lush and complex poem of a movie. Please, please watch Cobra Verde.

2 members like this review

"The slaves will sell their masters and grow wings" This film takes you through a very strange and unsettling journey. It 's not a cathartic film nor one that seeks justice but simply shows things as they were/are. The quote above from "Cobra Verde", while at first seems to imply freedom, is really a statement that speaks of a cycles not freedom. This is, altogether, both an amazing film and a troubling one. Well worth watching but leaves a haunting madness in the back of the throat.

2 members like this review

I love this movie but I'm biased; I'm a big fan off both Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski, together they make incredible films. Cobra Verde, haunting story, haunting characters; I highly recommend it.

2 members like this review

Kinski is pure rare mad genius. Herzog is among the most indomitable

filmmakers of all time ever.

1 member likes this review
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another Klaus Kinski epic performance ...

Epic in scale, but lacking the emotional weight one might expect. Where Aguirre offers an entirely critical representation of colonialism, Fitzcarraldo is more dialectical, effecting both empathy and disgust. Cobra Verde, on the other hand, leans toward ambivalent nihilism. Characterization and narrative structure take a back seat to exoticism. Relatively reserved performance from Kinski when compared to other Herzog collaborations.

Aaron C. said it best.

it is visually compelling, but the narrative is broken

Enough of Kinski.

a little bit like a National Geography production on acid!

kinki / Herzog :what a duo this does make

As usual,I enjoyed the Herzog visual and aural extravaganza. However, I found the Kinski character very thin and undeveloped, and the final, boat dragging, scene incredibly poignant.

High production quality. No sympathy or empathy for the principal character.

excellent photography and performances. Like visiting the heart of darkness.

so dope