Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Deserves a place alongside Aguirre: Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, other thematically similar Herzog-Kinski collaborations. Based on Bruce Chatwin's The Viceroy of Ouidah, Cobra Verde is a modern Heart of Darkness realized with Herzog's usual commitment. Criticisms that it is "amoral" presumably find Kinski's typically deranged portrayal of a slaver to be insufficiently depraved. I suspect it is only American provincialism which prevents recognition of this rich spectacle as a true classic of world cinema.
Between 2.5 and 3 stars. Good scenarios, Kinski is always interesting also with not such a strong personality as in other stories (but close). It would need some more strength and narrative pulse, but it is not bad.
As always Klaus Kinski portrays a larger-than-life character, as always Werner Herzog tackles with the seemingly impossible tasks of location shooting with a lot of extras. This time the story concerns slavery just before it was abolished altogether, the last vestiges of this horrible activity performed by humanity. The last shot of Kinski's helpless attempts of trying to move a boat to water is haunting and symbolic. This last collaboration nevertheless lacks the mystical power of their previous efforts.
Too many drawn out shots of things Herzog thought was moving. Sure, we will remember them, only because you made us watch them for ten minutes. This artistic aspect undermined the final product. I'm not a fan of Klaus.
this final work between star & director was awesome
Francisco Manoel da Silva (Klaus Kinski) is a debauched Brazilian rancher who reluctantly goes to work at a gold mining company after his ranch is ruined by drought. When he discovers that he is being financially exploited, he murders his boss and goes on the lam to pursue a career as an outlaw. He becomes the notorious Cobra Verde (Green Snake), the most vicious bandit of the servao. In his travels, da Silva encounters and subdues an escaped slave, an act that impresses wealthy sugar baron Don Octávio Coutinho (José Lewgoy). Don Coutinho, unaware that he is dealing with the legendary bandit, hires da Silva to oversee the slaves on his sugar plantation. When da Silva subsequently impregnates all three of the Don's daughters, the sugar baron is furious, but the situation becomes even more complicated when he discovers that da Silva is none other than the infamous Cobra Verde. As punishment, rather than kill him or have him prosecuted, Don Coutinho decides to send da Silva on the impossible mission of re-opening the slave trade with Western Africa. The bandit is aware he is likely to be killed in Africa, but accepts anyway. He travels by sea to Dahomey, West Africa, where he must negotiate with the fearsome King Bossa Ahadee of Dahomey (played by His Honor the Omanhene Nana Agyefi Kwame II of Nsein, a village north of the city of Axim, Ghana). Amazingly, da Silva succeeds in convincing the King to exchange slaves for new rifles. He takes over Elmina Castle and takes Taparica (King Ampaw), sole survivor of the previous expedition, for a partner. They begin operating the slave trade across the Atlantic to Brazil. Soon, however, the fickle king has them captured and brought before him. The King accuses da Silva of various crimes that he has no knowledge of, including poisoning the King's greyhound, and sentences him to death. He and Taparica are rescued the night prior to da Silva's decapitation by the King's nephew, who negotiates a blood alliance with da Silva, planning to overthrow the King. The ambitious bandit trains an enormous army of native women, and leads them on a raid to successfully overthrow King Bossa...
In the documentary 'My Best Fiend' Herzog says that when directing Kinski in this film he found him 'uncontrollable'. I was surprised when watching it to sense that Kinski was burnt out and actually seemed too old for his role. The film opens with a Brazilian folk musician starting to sing us the 'Ballad of Cobra Verde'. Cobra Verde was the last film that Werner Herzog would make with Klaus Kinski. Their now-legendary personality conflict peaked during the film. The film's production was especially affected by Kinski's fiery outbursts. The cast and crew were continually plagued by Kinski's wrath, most famously culminating in the film's original cinematographer Thomas Mauch walking out on the project after a perpetual torrent of verbal abuse from Kinski. Herzog was forced to replace Mauch with Viktor R?i?ka. The fifth and last of the Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinski collaborations, the other four being: Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), Woyzeck (1979) & Fitzcarraldo (1982).
It´s quite clear when watching "Cobra Verde" that the production was plagued by the strain between Herzog and Kinski and it´s also obvious that Kinski is not in balance as he seems to be playing a crazy version of himself rather than da Silva. The plot is very fluctuant, the acting everywhere and not really of quality, the editing is strange and not coherent, it has several strange scenes, the dubbing is awful and as said Kinski seems to have been close to madness during the shoot. There´s something haunting in "Cobra Verde", but it still struggles in so many ways as a film. Herzog´s experimental way of shooting worked in "Aguirre, the Wrath of God", but not really here. "Cobra Verde" is a disappointment in my eyes.
Werner Herzog's final collaboration with Klaus Kinski and I'm pretty sure it's my favourite of the five film gems.
The last scene in this film is the last Herzog ever shot with Kinski before his death...and probably one of the most beautiful i have ever seen on screen...The film itself isn't great by any means but if you sit through it you will be glad you watched it by the time the film gets to it.
Herzog and Kinski's final collaboration is an incoherent disappointment. Kinski - looking like a Napoleonic Iggy Pop - plays a mercenary slave trader. Fabulous locations and occasionally memorable set pieces can't excuse the sloppy camera work and indulgent direction. Popol Vuh's music is small compensation.
I had the same look the Prince did throughout this movie.