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Hearts of Darkness - A Filmmaker's Apocalypse
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Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmakers Apocalypse is an engrossing, unwavering look back at Francis Ford Coppolas chaotic, catastrophe-plagued Vietnam production, Apocalypse Now. Filled with juicy gossip and a wonderful behind-the-scenes look at the stressful world of moviemaking, the documentary mixes on-location home movies shot in the Philippines by Eleanor Coppola, the directors wife, with revealing interviews with the cast and crew, shot 10 years later.
- Coda: Thirty Years Later - A brand new documentary seen here for the first time
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I am happy to report that the whole film is here, there doesn't appear to any cuts and the run time (96 minutes) matches that of the official times listed on the Internet. Thank you, Francis!
Now to the DVD extra, an hour-long documentary called CODA: THIRTY YEARS LATER. It's this new documentary (40% of the total DVD content!) which explains why Coppola is finally re-releasing HOD. The title "CODA" it misleading (especially in this context) because CODA has nothing to do with Apocalypse Now. Rather it is a documentary on Coppola's newest film YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH. Perhaps because YWY looks to be an essential parlor piece with lots of dialog, CODA is, unfortunately, tedious. In fact, YWY has not yet been given a wide release in the US, so what we really have here is a (you guessed it) "Making of..." film for marketing purposes. Sure, it would have made a great extra on the YWY DVD, but it is a huge letdown after HEARTS OF DARKNESS. In fact, CODA didn't leave me wanting to see YWY and initial professional reviews reveal that the film itself is a letdown.
Instead, rejoice that Coppola decided to re-release HEARTS OF DARKNESS to home video to market his new film. Every single student of film should see HOD -- it is also a perfect companion piece to Lost in La Mancha, another documentary that shows that most of Hollywood isn't the glitz that it sells. (Fun fact: both HOD and LLM are documentaries about people trying to make films that eluded Orson Welles -- though Coppola succeeded where Terry Gilliam failed.)
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