November 2018, arsenal cinema

70 mm: COBRA VERDE

COBRA VERDE, 1987

In our ongoing series of projections in large analogue format, we are showing Werner Herzog’s controversially received final collaboration with Klaus Kinski COBRA VERDE (West Germany/Ghana 1987). Based on the novel “The Viceroy of Ouidah” by Bruce Chatwin, Herzog shot his adaptation in Brazil, Colombia, and Ghana. With existential commitment, Kinski embodies the path taken by Francisco Manoel da Silva, who rises from cow-herder, gold-digger, and bandit to the administrator of a sugar cane plantation. When he gets the plantation owner’s three underage pregnant, his employer sends to him to almost certain death in West Africa, where he is supposed to kick-start the stagnating slave trade. Against all expectations, “Cobra Verde” soon becomes the king’s deputy, because the king, who normally has all white men killed, is in urgent need of weapons, which can only be obtained via slavery. (1.11.)