Wednesday, 21 November 2007


Hearts of Darkness (1991) dir. Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper


There is no better documentary about the pain and sacrifice of making a film than “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse”, which is now available on DVD for the first time. The documentary which chronicles the sordid history of the making of “Apocalypse Now” is a film worthy of the greatness of its subject. A remarkable amount of on-location footage, candid audio recordings and modern reflections of the time from the participants make for an all-access pass into the hellish process of making a masterpiece.

At the top we’re privileged with an interesting tidbit of info that the film was first proposed as an American Zoetrope feature for George Lucas to direct. A script had already been written by Zoetrope pal John Milius, and was to be filmed in 16mm during the Vietnam War. That suggestion didn’t fly with the studios, and so Coppola had to wait until he had the clout from “The Godfather” films before taking another shot at it. After the backstory of the development of the project, the documentary is taken over by the footage shot by Coppola’s wife Eleanor who traveled with the crew to the Phillipines location. "Apocalypse Now" turned out to be a cursed production which lasted over a year, survived a hurricane, a near-death heart attack from Martin Sheen, the firing of its lead actor, and the numerous contemptuous antics of Marlon Brando.

Directors Bahr and Hickenlooper effectively use a clever voiceover track from Orson Welles - a similar maverick independent who also tried to film Joseph Conrad’s novel in 1940, before “Citizen Kane”. That project was too daunting for Welles but we have the narration from his Mercury radio program which acts like an ominous ghost haunting Coppola’s film.

Though Eleanor Coppola doesn’t get directorial credit, she should. Her candid audio recordings which were made without Coppola’s knowledge offers us true fly-on-the-wall access to a great artist at work. We get to hear the indecisive ramblings of Coppola near the brink of insanity. He honestly confesses his film will be no good and questions the risk he’s taking in making a ‘pretentious’ film.

There are many profound themes that emerge from the material without manipulation from the filmmakers. The notion of war and filmmaking being linked metaphorically comes true when the Philippine Army takes away Coppola’s helicopters in the middle of shot to fight off some Communist insurgents. Amazing. The film is also about ego and excess. His description of how he wants the set designer and casting director to fill out the French Plantation scene is grossly egotistical. And look at the opening shot of an unflattering Coppola, shirtless, so heavily bearded you can’t see his face, and frantically twitching. He resembles the character of Kurtz himself - out of control, out of touch with reality and without an end-goal vision.

Sometimes great art comes from the insane mind. Coppola was never committed, but he certainly lost years of his life making the film. Indeed “Apocalypse Now” became an unrivaled masterpiece. One thing missing is Coppola’s opinion on the finished film. I suspect he hates it, probably because it brings up these tragic memories which are nightmarish to him but fascinating to us. Enjoy.

Buy it here: Hearts of Darkness - A Filmmaker's Apocalypse


Scott Eggleston said...

This is probably my favorite doc of all time. As a filmmaker, there is nothing more fascinating than peeking behind the scenes of a classic, especially when it's as unflattering as this. My favorite scene has to be Coppola ranting over the phone after Sheen's heart attack, "If Martin dies, no one says he's dead UNTIL I SAY HE'S DEAD!". Crazy.

I also like the Welles' voice over from his radio play, especially when he describes Kurtz as a scrawny emaciated man, followed by a shot of an immensely tubby Brando. Very funny.

I'm glad to hear Hearts of Darkness finally available on disc, which is one I will definitely run out and purchase.

Andrew D. Wells said...

I've been waiting for this to become available on DVD and was dissappointed when the third version of "Apocalypse" came out without this attatched to it, although I suppose it is a case of ownership.

As you can see from my bio I trained in theater at Coppola's alma mater Hofstra where I was also the president of the theater group he founded the Spectrum Players. To this day I still do puabahs before every theater performance. I always refer my actors to this film where they can see Coppola himself lead the cast and crew in puabahs before the filmming begins.

Anonymous said...

豆豆聊天室 aio交友愛情館 2008真情寫真 2009真情寫真 aa片免費看 捷克論壇 微風論壇 大眾論壇 plus論壇 080視訊聊天室 情色視訊交友90739 美女交友-成人聊天室 色情小說 做愛成人圖片區 豆豆色情聊天室 080豆豆聊天室 小辣妹影音交友網 台中情人聊天室 桃園星願聊天室 高雄網友聊天室 新中台灣聊天室 中部網友聊天室 嘉義之光聊天室 基隆海岸聊天室 中壢網友聊天室 南台灣聊天室 南部聊坊聊天室 台南不夜城聊天室 南部網友聊天室 屏東網友聊天室 台南網友聊天室 屏東聊坊聊天室 雲林網友聊天室 大學生BBS聊天室 網路學院聊天室 屏東夜語聊天室 孤男寡女聊天室 一網情深聊天室 心靈饗宴聊天室 流星花園聊天室 食色男女色情聊天室 真愛宣言交友聊天室 情人皇朝聊天室 上班族成人聊天室 上班族f1影音視訊聊天室 哈雷視訊聊天室 080影音視訊聊天室 38不夜城聊天室 援交聊天室080 080哈啦聊天室 台北已婚聊天室 已婚廣場聊天室 夢幻家族聊天室 摸摸扣扣同學會聊天室 520情色聊天室 QQ成人交友聊天室 免費視訊網愛聊天室 愛情公寓免費聊天室 拉子性愛聊天室 柔情網友聊天室 哈啦影音交友網 哈啦影音視訊聊天室 櫻井莉亞三點全露寫真集 123上班族聊天室 尋夢園上班族聊天室 成人聊天室上班族 080上班族聊天室 6k聊天室 粉紅豆豆聊天室 080豆豆聊天網 新豆豆聊天室 080聊天室 免費音樂試聽 流行音樂試聽 免費aa片試看A片 免費a長片線上看 色情貼影片 免費a長片 本土成人貼圖站 大台灣情色網 台灣男人幫論壇 A圖網 嘟嘟成人電影網 火辣春夢貼圖網 情色貼圖俱樂部 台灣成人電影 絲襪美腿樂園 18美女貼圖區 柔情聊天網 707網愛聊天室聯盟 台北69色情貼圖區 38女孩情色網 台灣映像館 波波成人情色網站 美女成人貼圖區 無碼貼圖力量 色妹妹性愛貼圖區 日本女優貼圖網 日本美少女貼圖區 亞洲風暴情色貼圖網 哈啦聊天室 美少女自拍貼圖 辣妹成人情色網 台北女孩情色網 辣手貼圖情色網 AV無碼女優影片 男女情色寫真貼圖 a片天使俱樂部 萍水相逢遊戲區 平水相逢遊戲區 免費視訊交友90739 免費視訊聊天 辣妹視訊 - 影音聊天網 080視訊聊天室 日本美女肛交 美女工廠貼圖區 百分百貼圖區 亞洲成人電影情色網 台灣本土自拍貼圖網 麻辣貼圖情色網 好色客成人圖片貼圖區 711成人AV貼圖區 台灣美女貼圖區 筱萱成人論壇 咪咪情色貼圖區 momokoko同學會視訊 kk272視訊 情色文學小站 成人情色貼圖區 嘟嘟成人網 嘟嘟情人色網 - 貼圖區 免費色情a片下載 台灣情色論壇 成人影片分享 免費視訊聊天區 微風 成人 論壇 kiss文學區 taiwankiss文學區