Cobra Verde is the final chapter in one of cinema’s most revered director-actor collaborations. Ever since Kinski’s death (four years later after finishing this film) his working and life relationship with Herzog is one that grew to mythological proportions. Under this mindset, watching any of the 5 films these two made together falls under a different set of perception and interpretation.
Now, almost 2 weeks after seeing it, Cobra Verde feels a work of a genius. Its images are, for lack of a better word, haunting you. Almost nowhere else in contemporary cinema can you still watch images with this power of depiction.
At the time of watching it though, I was in awe with:
- how loose and at times straight out illogic were all the cause-effect relation;
- the number of people brought together for this shoot
- how terrifying and telling the last shot in the film is (Kinski pulling helplessly on a big boat - wink to Fitzcarraldo - while a native African cripple approaches menacingly)
- how sharp has KK’s acting skills have gotten by this point. His face is unmatched to this day. The scene where he trains how to fight almost naked African female warriors is amazing.
- again and again, how powerful Herzog’s images are, although the metaphor is never clear (the room full of walking crab, the rooms filled with slaves, the African women throwing ashes on their heads)