Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse

A fascinating postmortem on the making of Francis Coppola’s 1979 Apocalypse Now, mainly consisting of footage shot by Eleanor Coppola in the 7Os that has been intelligently selected, augmented, and arranged by Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper. Like the Coppola film itself, this documentary at times seems to value self-styled profundity and rhetoric over observation and common sense–one especially regrets the absence of any thoroughgoing political or historical critique of Apocalypse Now in relation to the Vietnam war–but the various personalities involved–including Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Dennis Hopper, and Coppola himself–keep this compulsively watchable. Too bad that Michael Herr, who wrote Apocalypse’s effective narration after the film was shot, is overlooked in the kaleidoscopic clashes of male egos, but it’s nice to see that Orson Welles’s radio and screenplay adaptations of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness are acknowledged as precedents and probable influences. (Fine Arts)

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