COBRA VERDE (also known as SLAVE COAST) is a 1987 German drama film
Werner Herzog and starring
* 1 Plot * 2 Production * 3 Tension between Herzog and Kinski * 4 References * 5 External links
Francisco Manoel da Silva (
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
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.
Against all expectations, the slave trade is successfully maintained under the new King, thanks to da Silva's resourcefulness. However, da Silva eventually falls out of favor with the new King, and discovers that in the meantime the Portuguese have outlawed slavery and seized his assets, and the English have placed a price on his head. Despite the adversity, da Silva is glad that finally a change has come. The exhausted bandit tries desperately to take a boat to water, but despite his best efforts, he is unable to accomplish the task. He collapses next to the ship as the tide slowly laps in. The film ends with the hauntingly symbolic image of an African man stricken with polio walking along the shore, and a group of young native women laughingly chant over the credits.
The film was shot in Ghana,
The film was based upon
Bruce Chatwin 's 1980 novel The Viceroy of
Ouidah , which was itself based on the Brazilian slave trader
Francisco Félix de Sousa and his role in helping King
Adandozan as King of
TENSION BETWEEN HERZOG AND KINSKI
Herzog's opinions of Kinski are deeply explored in his 1999
My Best Fiend , where he examines their
unique friendship, the associated hatred, and the legacy that both
qualities were responsible for. The filming of
* ^ DVD Verdict Review - Cobra