Saturday, September 17, 2005

Apocalypse Now

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola


Truly, BME.

This a movie that every successive viewing reveals wholly new information. For example, I never knew the graffiti that announced the Kurtz compound motto reads: Apocalypse Now (this could also be a product of watching it on a bigger screen). I revisited this movie as a result of Marcus's conversation about studio vs. Director's cut, and without question, the original is much better. Which got me thinking. Apocalypse Now is a BIG movie; I would argue that it might even be bigger than Lawrence. We know that filming and directing this monster was notoriously cumbersome, but it never really struck me the extent of the Herculean task Coppola undertook. In order to really capture the theater of the absurd, there had to be a great deal of chaos that finds its way on screen, not just with close-ups and intimate character interaction but the chaotic battle scenes that fills the rest of the space.

A movie like this would never be made today. During the 1970s, the great directors pretty much had complete say on their projects (with virtually unlimited budgets). That came to an end with Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, a way over budget meandering disaster that broke a studio and ruined a career (however, I have heard a true directors cut is actually quite good). But, Apocalypse Now, also heavily criticized for cost overages and difficulties on the set, was the pentultimate punctuation to that period of directorial freedom (Coppola had his own disaster, One for the Heart). Directors, if they want "freedom" go to indie films, but the money is not there for anything beyond an intimate character film. If they want a more spectacular film, it must be CGI. Which only means we will never see another Apocalypse Now. I guess I am just lamenting the good old days.

I wonder how the generations after ours will see this film. There are some stylistic choices that do date it, but I am curious as to how the subject matter will be processed years from now.

Like the film, meandering thoughts.


Blogger paroske noted on 9/17/2005 12:12:00 PM that...

Unlimited studio budgets with complete directorial control may be gone, I grant.

But unlimited private budgets with complete directorial control . . .


Is than new film a new AN?


Blogger ronvon2 noted on 9/17/2005 06:57:00 PM that...

Certainly Gibson's Passion was big, but the budget was not huge (I dont think it was more than 25 million, whereas AN would be nearly 200 mill. in today's dollars). But, Passion is not the spectacle that AN was.  

Blogger paroske noted on 9/19/2005 08:55:00 PM that...

But will Apocalypto be?


Blogger ronvon2 noted on 9/19/2005 09:54:00 PM that...

I heard about that...Does this guy have something against contemporary languages?  

Blogger paroske noted on 9/20/2005 12:04:00 AM that...

Yes. People use contemporary languages to claim that there was a Holocaust.

(That is satire and not an endorsement of Holocaust denial, oh future web browsers)