This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Cobra Verde

I watched the Netflix DVD of Cobra Verde yesterday, and it had the most native African BPM (breasts per minute) I have ever seen in a movie. If those women were white, it would have been NC-17, even though there's no sex shown at all.

The plot goes like this (although as in all Werner Herzog movies, the plot plays second chair saxophone to the haunting and epic images he creates): Cobra Verde (crazy-eyed Klaus Kinski) lives in Brazil, becomes a bandit that everyone there is afraid of, doesn't wear any shoes because he "doesn't trust them," meets a crippled child in a bar, earns the favor of a local rich Colonel, knocks up all three of his daughters, gets sent to Africa on a suicide mission, meets the only remaining soldier at the slave-trading fort there, gets captured by the mad King, gets rescued by the king's creepy-eyed son and commisioned to train the son's army, becomes Viceroy and head slave trader of the kingdom after the son's successful coup, gets bored, meets a topless African girls' choir with an alarmingly gangsta lead singer, loses everything when the slave trade is abolished, and drowns trying to get a boat into the sea.

The movie is tedious at points, which Herzog himself talks about in the commentary. He has a tendency to stay with shots so long the meaning of what you see changes, if that makes any sense. It's richly shot, however, and this nearly makes up for the nihilistic plot and the lack of a real protagonist and the Moby-esque BPM.

Herzog does like the freaks, though, and he has graciously filled this film with them. Putting aside the main character played by Kinski -- the biggest freak of them all, and you have crippled adults, people with polio, children who walk with makeshift crutches, and the crazy-eyed son. You know that look that Matt gave on The Joe Schmo Show when he found out that everything was fake except him? The "What is going on" look? The son has that look on his face all the time. It's worth the spot in your Netflix queue just to see him.

And then there's Kinski, who nearly killed/was killed by Herzog during the filming of the movie. He was apparently insane at this point. He looks it. It's a good look for him.

I give the movie 3 overpriced popcorns out of 5, for the visual images and the depressing look at the slave trade. If the plot and characters would have been, what a movie it could have been!


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