Reise ins Herz der Finsternis (1991)

Copy the link

Reise ins Herz der Finsternis: Directed by Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola. With Francis Ford Coppola, Eleanor Coppola, Orson Welles, John Milius. Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems–nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.

“u0026#39;Are my methods unsound?u0026#39; – u0026#39;I donu0026#39;t see a method at all, sir.u0026#39;u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHearts of darkness: a filmmakeru0026#39;s apocalypse has become the mother of all making-of documentaries. At least thatu0026#39;s what Coppola had in mind. I guess every making-of ever made wanted to be something like Hearts has accomplished. Problems in production, actors, story, editing, financing and directing are revealed. However, not much attention is paid to the actual adaptation of the original story and the difference in vision that was obviously there. The trouble surrounding Apocalypse Now as presented in this documentary makes you wonder how on earth Apocalypse Now was actually released at all. On the other hand that might just be exploitation of a supposedly disastrous production, like the trouble with u0026#39;The African Queenu0026#39; (Huston, 1951). In that case, it would mean Coppola created a legend out of some futile problems to emphasize that you HAVE to see the final product.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eNevertheless his film IS spectacular. The helicopter action in Black Hawk Down canu0026#39;t top the impact of the lauded Huey-attack. And Apo features one of the greatest scores and (awardwinning) sound designs in history of cinema. With the emphasis on lunacy and despair in the form of surrealist cacophony. I would have liked to hear some more in this docu about the sound design that was as revolutionary as that of u0026#39;the Right Stuffu0026#39; and u0026#39;Star Warsu0026#39;. I really couldnu0026#39;t say that we were all tricked into pretensions and reputation-building (which IS the case with Vertigo if you ask me) for commercial purposes.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAlmost forty years after Orson Welles wanted to make his first film out of Joseph Conradu0026#39;s book u0026#39;Heart of Darknessu0026#39; (yes, thatu0026#39;s 3 years before Citizen Kane), Coppola started to create his own loose adaptation of the book. In this documentary is even an excerpt of Wellesu0026#39; 1938-radio adaptation of Heart of Darkness. I hope it will come with the docu when it is released on dvd (will it ever?).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eApo was supposed to be a sort of journey of a man into the past (hence the newly restored scene on the french plantage), almost maybe like Bergmanu0026#39;s Wild Strawberries, but only the form and the surrealism, not the content of course. But if we may believe this docu, the production resembled just as much turmoil as the lunacy in the story itself. The French plantage (with french actress Aurore Clément (u0026#39;Paris, Texasu0026#39;)) illustrates the fifties: the idea of the French still being in the forest and representing the fifties politics. Coppola elucidates why he initially shot and later cut out the scene. Fortunately it would later be presented to the world in the u0026#39;Reduxu0026#39; version. The story of Apo was supposed to take us back in time, to re-live Kurtzu0026#39; adventure. Maybe even like the extraordinary u0026#39;Paris, Texasu0026#39; (Wenders, 1984) that in content is also a journey into the past of a man.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eFor most people, this docu will be a delight just to see behind the scenes footage, because they donu0026#39;t see theyu0026#39;re being manipulated by the actual SELECTION of footage and mutilation of interviews. Itu0026#39;s very entertaining, but ultimately some points do not convince. How can the director of u0026#39;the Godfather 1+2u0026#39; and u0026#39;the Conversationu0026#39; let a production get out of hand like the way itu0026#39;s presented in u0026#39;Heartsu0026#39;? And, the real heart of the concept isnu0026#39;t really touched by any of the interviewees. But, as an admirer of Apo, I say itu0026#39;s a must see, not only for the background stories (Welles), the problems created by actors (Sheenu0026#39;s attack, Brandou0026#39;s corpulence) and the lunacy on the set itself (idiodyssey?), but also to hear Francis Ford Coppola say that the film will not be good and a 20 million dollar disaster, while it was becoming the greatest warmovie ever made (right behind Catch-22 ;-). And for that, mr and mrs Coppola, I salute you. 9/10”


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *