Yesterday I saw the last film in my Werner Herzog collection: Cobra Verde (1987). It was also the last of five films in which Herzog and Kinski worked together. The films depicts the bandit Cobra Verde and his lonely and poor life in Brazil. After getting into trouble with a major plantation owner Cobra is forced to travel to the west coast of Africa and the Kingdom of Daomé. His mission is to persuade the king to sell him slaves (which in turn will be sold to the plantations). The problem is that the king is said to be crazy and no white man has returned from the kingdom for the last ten years – Klaus Kinski has gotten himself into trouble.
Perhaps I was too tired when watching the film for I did not enjoy it as much as the other three Herzog-Kinski collaborations. The film is absolutely not bad, on the contrary. It is filled with beautiful Herzogian scenes and Kinski plays Cobra with his usual energy. Popol Vuh’s music yet again fit the atmosphere though I felt that their music was not as prevalent in this film as in the previous ones. Still, Cobra Verde as a character isn’t very interesting. I don’t understand or get to know him the way I do with Aguirre or Fitzcaraldo. I trouble with finding a clear theme in the story – just bits and pieces. I feel as if there is something missing, something forgotten.
To conclude this journey into the world of Herzog (and Kinski) I must say that I am deeply impressed. Herzog has a tone and an audiovisual lanuage that I find truly remarkable. The surreal worlds with their blend of reality and dream. The human psyche standing on the ledge, ready to fall down at any moment. The deep places of the world, far from civilization.
If someone were to adapt and direct Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness it would have to be Herzog.
Until next time.