The Info List - Cobra Verde

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Cobra Verde
Cobra Verde
(also known as Slave Coast) is a 1987 German drama film directed by Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog
and starring Klaus Kinski, in their fifth and final collaboration. It was based upon Bruce Chatwin's 1980 novel The Viceroy of Ouidah. The film depicts the life of a fictional slave trader. It was filmed on location in Brazil, Colombia
and Ghana.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production 4 Tension between Herzog and Kinski 5 References 6 External links

Plot[edit] 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 sertão. In his travels, da Silva encounters and subdues an escaped slave, an act that impresses wealthy sugar baron Dom Octávio Coutinho (José Lewgoy). Dom 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 Dom'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, Dom 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 (present-day Benin), 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
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. Cast[edit]

Klaus Kinski
Klaus Kinski
- Francisco Manoel da Silva King Ampaw - Taparica José Lewgoy - Don Octavio Coutinho Salvatore Basile - Captain Fraternidade Peter Berling - Bernabé

Production[edit] The film was shot in Ghana, Brazil
and Colombia. Herzog showed Kinski photographs of the places where he would like to work. Kinski was interested in some landscapes in Colombia, but Herzog did not agree. However, Kinski made the trip with a group of friends to some remote places that fascinated him: the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Cape of the Sailing, on the peninsula of La Guajira, Colombia. Herzog finally decided on Villa de Leyva and Valle del Cauca, in the South American country. Kinski said then: "Herzog does not know that I give life to the dead scenery". 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 Ghezo
overthrow his brother Adandozan as King of Dahomey
with the help of Ghezo's Dahomey Amazons. Tension between Herzog and Kinski[edit] Cobra Verde
Cobra Verde
was the last film that Werner Herzog
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 Růžička.[1] Herzog's opinions of Kinski are deeply explored in his 1999 documentary retrospective, My Best Fiend, where he examines their unique friendship, the associated hatred, and the legacy that both qualities were responsible for. The filming of Cobra Verde
Cobra Verde
and relationship of Herzog and Kinski was also the subject of a 1987 Swiss documentary film, Location Africa. References[edit]

^ DVD Verdict Review - Cobra Verde
Cobra Verde
Archived 2006-12-11 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Cobra Verde
Cobra Verde
on IMDb Cobra Verde
Cobra Verde
at AllMovie Cobra Verde
Cobra Verde
at Rotten Tomatoes

v t e

Werner Herzog

Feature films

Signs of Life (1968) Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970) Fata Morgana (1971) Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
(1972) The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
(1974) Heart of Glass (1976) Stroszek
(1977) Nosferatu the Vampyre
Nosferatu the Vampyre
(1979) Woyzeck (1979) Fitzcarraldo
(1982) Where the Green Ants Dream
Where the Green Ants Dream
(1984) Cobra Verde
Cobra Verde
(1987) Scream of Stone (1991) Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness
(1992) Invincible (2001) The Wild Blue Yonder
The Wild Blue Yonder
(2005) Rescue Dawn
Rescue Dawn
(2006) Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?
My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?
(2009) Queen of the Desert (2015) Salt and Fire
Salt and Fire


The Flying Doctors of East Africa
The Flying Doctors of East Africa
(1969) Handicapped Future
Handicapped Future
(1971) Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (1974) How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck (1976) La Soufrière (1977) Huie's Sermon
Huie's Sermon
(1981) God's Angry Man
God's Angry Man
(1981) Ballad of the Little Soldier
Ballad of the Little Soldier
(1984) The Dark Glow of the Mountains
The Dark Glow of the Mountains
(1984) Herdsmen of the Sun
Herdsmen of the Sun
(1989) Echoes from a Sombre Empire (1990) Jag Mandir (1991) Bells from the Deep (1993) The Transformation of the World into Music (1994) Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices (1995) Little Dieter Needs to Fly
Little Dieter Needs to Fly
(1997) My Best Fiend
My Best Fiend
(1999) Wings of Hope (2000) Pilgrimage (2001) Ten Thousand Years Older
Ten Thousand Years Older
(2002) Wheel of Time (2003) The White Diamond
The White Diamond
(2004) Grizzly Man
Grizzly Man
(2005) Encounters at the End of the World
Encounters at the End of the World
(2007) Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010) Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
(2010) Into the Abyss (2011) On Death Row
On Death Row
(2012) From One Second to the Next
From One Second to the Next
(2013) Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
(2016) Into the Inferno (2016)


Herakles (1962) Game in the Sand (1964) The Unprecedented Defence of the Fortress Deutschkreuz
The Unprecedented Defence of the Fortress Deutschkreuz
(1967) Last Words (1967) Precautions Against Fanatics
Precautions Against Fanatics
(1969) No One Will Play with Me
No One Will Play with Me
(1976) Portrait Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog
(1986) Les Gaulois (1988) La bohème (2009)


Incident at Loch Ness
Incident at Loch Ness


Of Walking in Ice (1978) Bibliography


Lena Herzog (wife) Lucki Stipetić
Lucki Stipetić
(brother) Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog
Eats His Shoe (1980)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 186352064 GND: 4206651-7 BNF: