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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 12 January 2010
This is a haunting film about slavery (based loosely on a Bruce Chatwin novel), but unlike other films on the topic it doesn't actually denounce slavery, working instead within the mental framework of the 19th century. Not a 'politically correct' approach, of course, as director Herzog cheerfully acknowledges, but an historically faithful one.

Herzog is concerned with authenticity when portraying African cultures, and this may be one of the most realistic depictions of colonial Africa ever committed to film. Interestingly, the actor who plays the King of Dahomey is a real African tribal king.

Klaus Kinski plays the title role with a crazed intensity which according to Herzog mirrors the fact that he was slipping over the edge in real life. Kinski's character Cobra Verde longs "to go forth from here to another world", but in fact he is already in another world - Herzog's camera captures the sense of strangeness and mystery in each landscape the film passes through.

In many ways 'Cobra Verde' is like an extended dreamscape, hyponotic yet full of surprising juxtapositions. While not Herzog's most coherent film, in terms of stylised cinematography it ranks up there with his best. It is a work of art that demands attentive viewing.

Contrary to the myth that whites are responsible for the African slave trade, the film also acknowledges the historical reality that slavery was practiced extensively by Arabs and Africans (not that whites didn't actively participate in it, of course). Herzog discusses some of these issues in the director's commentary track, which is interesting in its own right.
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The last and least of his volatile collaborations with Werner Herzog, Cobra Verde is possibly the one movie where Klaus Kinski isn't the maddest person on screen - he's out-madded by not one but two African kings who make him look a model of logic and reason: when even Werner Herzog describes one actor as a "very odd man," you'd better believe it. After a hypnotic opening the first third is sluggish at best, but once Kinski's South American barefoot bandit ("I don't trust shoes") reaches Africa to reopen the slave trade - more in his employers' hope that he'll be killed than any belief he might succeed - it's a rollicking yarn and the most spectacular of Herzog's films, ending with an image that's almost Fitzcarraldo in microsm as Kinski struggles to pull a longboat into the sea while a native cripple watches him. It's a mad film in many ways, with Kinski finding himself leading an army of Amazons because the men simply aren't good enough warriors, but like all Herzog films it has its rewards, including some striking and haunting imagery, not least a shot of Kinski in the sea watching the sky.
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on 7 January 2004
The last Herzog/Kinski movie is a trully masterpiece. Kinski plays the bandid cobra verde with calmness and determination; this real story unfolds in africa with some breaktaking scenery and an impressive cast of locals. The music as usaul by Popol Vaul is superb and the story is very interesting and nicely directed. It is a movie worth watching
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on 3 February 2013
This is one of Herzogs best films. Kinski is superb...ruthless, calculating, over-sexed, violent....normal Kinski.
A disturbing story set in the exploitative world of the19th century slave trade of Brazil and Africa.
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on 2 May 2006
In Cobra Verde (1989) we once again find the lone male 'hero' on a journey to a different landscape. As the title character played by Klaus Kinski states: "But I long to go forth from here to another world". Herzog, in the voiceover commentary of the DVD of Cobra Verde, acknowledges that the main character is "driven to other horizons, to something larger than his own existence" even though he is aware of the plot to kill him. Cobra Verde speaks of his desire to travel east to the sea and ends up fulfilling this desire. Irony again plays a part in this film as we see the grandiose Napoleon-like figure of Cobra Verde coming ashore on a tiny craft. By the end of the film however Cobra Verde cannot escape from his original desired destination: needlessly panicked by the slow approach of a deformed native, he exhausts himself in his attempt to float his vessel. The man who provoked fear in thousands of people is now driven to death by his own fear.
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on 10 August 2015
I Absolutely adore both Kinski and Herzog but this is not their finest Hour.It just does not Gel with the Teams usual Style and its whole "Obsessed Soldier of Fortune/Everyman" appeal is tepid this time round. Still has its moment because Herzog directs with Style and Kinski is....well He's Kinski.
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on 2 February 2013
This was sent as a gift with Bruce Chatwin's book 'the Sultan of Ouidja'. Its worth watching for the final scene of the young girls dancing. As usual Werner Herzog is amazing.
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on 7 September 2003
A tryly masterpiece. From the beginning the scenery, th ehypnotic music by popl Vuh , and the presence of Kinski shouting " Where is my Money " captivates the viewer. The scenery of Africa and the photography is outstanding, the story is very intersting and Kinski is simply brilliant. Dont miss it !!!!!
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on 2 October 2014
Good service ,pleased with the product .
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on 13 June 2015
great movie and commentry
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