Cobra Verde

Cobra Verde

DVD - 2002 | German
Average Rating:
4
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Francisco Manoel da Silva, 19th century, gun-toting Brazilian bandit known as the Cobra Verde, is unknowingly hired by the owner of a sugar plantation to keep his slaves in check, but instead, the Cobra manages to sleep with the landowner's daughters and impregnate them. In revenge, the owner sends the Cobra on a dangerous mission to sail to the West coast of Africa and reopen the slave trade, and the Cobra wages war with a local tribal king.
Publisher: Troy, MI : Anchor Bay Entertainment, [2002]
Edition: Widescreen
Description: 1 videodisc (110 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Branch Call Number: DVD Cobr

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lukasevansherman
Apr 29, 2015

"The slaves will sell their masters and grow wings."
The fifth and final tumultuous collaboration of director Werner Herzog and star Klaus Kinski. If you've seen Herzog's documentary about him, "My Best Fiend," or "Burden of Dreams," about the making of "Fitzcarraldo," you know Kinski wasn't the most stable of actors. Herzog may not have been able to control him, but he focused his intensity (and insanity) in a way that no other director did and the results are among both men's best work. "Cobra Verde" is lesser known than their other films together, but it's as powerful and forms a kind of loose trilogy with "Aguirre" and "Fitzcarraldo," as all three films are about a driven white man trying to impose his will on a native people. Per another commentator's point, Africans and South Americans dubbed into German is momentarily distracting, but I don't think it's fatal and to call Herzog a realist is a gross
mis-characterization of one of the great dreamers and visionaries of contemporary cinema. The use of locations and local actors is spectacular and the final shot feels like an elegy to Kinski. This deserves a bigger audience, as well as a better put together DVD (this has a commentary, but nothing else).

NewYorkViews Mar 11, 2015

Excellent casting, script, filming (most filming was done on locations) and based on a true historical account of notorious Brazilian slave trader Francisco Felix de Sousa's (died 1849) exploits in Africa's Dahomey (now called Benin)--based on "The Viceroy of Ouidah" by author Bruce Chatwin (Chatwin died in 1989). Chatwin supposedly changed the names of characters (such as from from Sousa to da Silva/bandit Cobra Verde) in his nonfiction due to the country where he did research having some sort of coup. What was interesting was to see the extent of the bandit Cobra Verde (an eighth generation Brazilian of Portuguese nobility) go from Brazil's underworld to Africa to become a highly successful grimy slave merchant and the means of the hell he did it with, contrasting with the wonders of nature's beauty of Brazil and Africa. There is much in the film--interesting characters and cultures, and the horrors of slavery.

m
Michael
Mar 11, 2012

I've always enjoyed Kinski's work in any genre, so he's consistently lethal - in this film, as he's been in most others... And when the native Africans sang in their own tribesmen/women dialect, the movie's authenticity rang loud and clear. But hearing 19th century African tribesmen speaking fluent German - if even as cinematic licence, to allow director Herzog to move plot and action along less statically - took enough away from this film for me, to leave me cold, at the obvious 'realism' neglect. Why film on location in Africa... using authentic African natives... dressed in traditional African native garb... if only to destroy the wonderful effect of all that - by having them speak German script! ...So much for Werner Herzog's penchant for realism in his films! And I found the editing, haphazard, leaving many scenes so painfully disjointed as to have me thinking that this was no better than some of the old Tarzan movies of the '50's that I used to watch as a kid, on tv, Saturday afternoons in the 60's.

avisualfeel Feb 14, 2012

Klaus Kinski is himself as usual, full of intense energy & this film is an itense experience. Herzog is able to do wonders and this film comes across as poetic & epic in size.

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