Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse - Eleanor Coppola (1991)

Why it is in the book: "On of the documentary's most fascinating aspects is the way it effectively (though unintentionally) reveals the paradoxical nature of auteurism as critical concept in film scholarship... " 10001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Wow is the first word that comes to mind after watching this. This film should be required watching for any aspiring filmmakers. Additionally, it should auto play once someone finishes the classic film "Apocalypse Now" so that they can see what went into getting it to the point of it being a classic.

This documentary chronicles the ups and downs (not many ups) of the making of the movie "Apocalypse Now". From natural disasters, to the heart attack of the main star (Martin Sheen), to the complete unpreparedness of the classically trained actor Marlon Brando. This film is not used to show how to make a movie, but more, how badly the making of a movie can go. This film was shot by the directors wife, so we are given material that no other person would ever be able to get. This makes it even more fascinating and almost voyeuristic.

How in God's name did "Apocalypse Now" get completed? A root canal twice a day seems more fun that making this thing. As an aspiring filmmaker, this was an eye opener in regards to what can go wrong on set. Most times I watch making of documentaries to learn how shots were done or performances were achieved. This film is not about that. The parallels from the actual film "Apocalypse Now" and the cast and crew making it are mind blowing. The depth of insanity that Martin Sheen tries to convey as Kurtz is even potentially less drastic than what he actually went through trying to achieve his performance. Additionally, just the fact that Francis Ford Coppola was able to complete this film is nothing short of a miracle and a testimony to his persistence and determination. There are not too many making of documentaries that have the access that Eleanor Coppola had. It is apparent that she is the only person that could have made this. Her husband was not even aware of some of the interviewes she was doing with him. It was only later that he realized some of them were being taped. This provides an openness and education that is unparalleled. It is also great that we are not able to speak with the main stars, but even some of the smaller roles to get their take on everything. Dennis Hopper for instance does not have a large amount of screen time, but watching his interaction and interviewes were good to see.

I enjoyed the film and would recommend it to the people that I mentioned previously. I do not believe I would recommend to the typical moviegoer unless they really wanted to see the trials and tribulations that can occur to make great movies.

Apocalypse Now DVD

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