Director: Fax Habr, George Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola
Writer: Fax Bahr, George Hickenlooper
Streaming: Amazon Movie Rental
Release Date: December 6, 1991

Francis Ford Coppola is one of the most revered filmmakers of all time, and in Hearts Of Darkness: A Film Maker’s Apocalypse (1991), fans of he and movie-making as a whole get a chance to wade in the swamp of one of the most difficult movie productions of all time.

Apocalypse Now (1979) is revered as one of the best war movies ever made and as a stunningly unique look at the Vietnam War. The polished finished product is nothing what Coppola or America expected with all the budgeting, casting and production problems that plagued the over 200-day shoot. I mean, Martin Sheen also died of a heart attack!

The behind-the-scenes footage that Francis’ wife Eleanor Coppola captures is riveting. The B-Roll of the heat and exhaustion is real and when you combine that with the honest testimonials and interviews from the stars of the movie, it is one of a kind insight. Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburn and members of the writing staff and crew are open about their experiences.

My favorite quote from Coppola in the movie:

“Nothing is so terrible as a pretentious movie, a movie that aspires for something really terrific and doesn’t pull it off is shit, it’s scum, and everyone will walk on it as such. And that’s why poor filmmakers, in a way, that’s their greatest horror, is to be pretentious. So here you are on the one hand, to try to aspire to really do something, on the other hand you’re not allowed to be pretentious. Why don’t you say fuck it, I don’t care if I’m pretentious or not pretentious or if I’ve done it or haven’t done it, all I know is that I’m gonna see this movie, and that for me it has to have some kind of answers, and by answers I don’t mean just a punchline, but answers on about 47 different levels, and it’s very hard to talk about these things without sounding corny, you use a word like self-purgation or epiphany, they think you’re either some kind of religious weirdo or asshole college professor, but those are the words for the process, this transmutation, this renaissance, this rebirth, which is the basis of all life.”

Hearts Of Darkness ends with Coppola managing to grab success from distress, and his brilliance is illuminated in one final quote that is prophetic even today:  

“To me, the great hope is that now these little 8mm video recorders and stuff have come out, and some… just people who normally wouldn’t make movies are going to be making them. And you know, suddenly, one day some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart, you know, and make a beautiful film with her little father’s camera recorder. And for once, the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed, forever. And it will really become an art form. That’s my opinion.”

Coppola was ahead of his time in many ways. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate passion from obsession, but it is obvious that Coppola has both. Still working today at the age of 82, Coppola is one of the best in Hollywood to do it. He has blended a grinding mentality throughout his career. Hearts Of Darkness: A Film Maker’s Apocalypse offers a glimpse into his outstanding madness.

For all the readers out there, Hearts Of Darkness: A Film Maker’s Apocalypse is just a remarkable look insight the beautiful chaos of fantastic movie making.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

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