Monday, November 26, 2007

Hearts of Darkness DVD

Leon casino,

The film Apocalypse Now can be found on many peoples short list of favorite films. In the early 1990s the documentary Hearts of Darkness made a brief theatrical appearance after being shot as a cable docu. Hearts of Darkness was comprised of material shot by Eleanor Coppola and then assembled by Fax Bahr (with additional input by George Hickenlooper). The DVD of Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse hits the streets running although in the years since it was made Bahr has only written and produced cable shows; Coppola has been in a creative slump that's only seen a couple of films while his daughter has hit Oscar gold (script for Lost in Translation); and Hickenlooper has gone from docus to some interesting feature films like the recent Factory Girl.
Watching Hearts of Darkness only makes you want to once again see Apocalypse Now (preferably in a 35mm Technicolor print). The film was a personal odyssey into creative madness where actors dropped more acid off screen than the characters that were tripping on screen. Harvey Keitel was replaced in the lead after a week, while his replacement Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack during the protracted shooting schedule. The docu goes into all this and most of the time maintains an objective edge that allows for the fact that even a creative genius can get lost on the journey to perfectionism.
Red wine should be served at 58-degree, have been opened for a couple of hours to breathe before being poured Coppola can be heard saying behind the scenes of the French plantation sequence, one of the memorable scenes cut and later restored (in the 2001 Apocalypse Now Redux). If you have questions about this film Hearts of Darkness will likely have the answer.
Disc extras include commentary by both Coppolas although as Eleanor points out they were recorded separately. There's also a one-hour making of Youth Without Youth, the new ultra-low budget film by Francis Coppola being released by Sony Pictures Classics next month.

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