A collection of note-thoughts about the end of the world.

*the opening sequence is a slow, dreamy apocalypse–it is a kind of beautiful fever dream, or a tweaky, drug-induced trip. What makes it powerful/uncomfortable and impossible to digest is the weird beauty and/or reverence for violence, death, and inhumanity. It seems to speak a truth about human nature, but it is convoluted and cloudy.

*very shallow focus, combined with CUs in the sequence with Harrison Ford is uncomfortable. It breaks things into parts, not allowing us to see the whole. Throughout the majority of the film, we can feel the presence of a whole truth, horror in the flesh. But we are only provided with its totality in a small number of moments.

*the actors repeatedly break the 4th wall. Their haunted eyes pierce straight through the audience. I’m not sure how much of this is due to the production history of Apocalypse Now, and how much of it is just good acting. Apparently Martin Sheen was struggling with alcoholism throughout production…it adds some power/mystique to his haunted, gaunt face.

*”don’t look at the camera” = self-reflexive, Vietnam as a myth created by media…the myth of Vietnam is fabricated, in other words. The film also creates a myth through music and the soundtrack. 

*Apocalypse Now has its own mythos due to its completely insane production history, etc. etc. Watching the film is like watching Coppolla et. al.’s vision crash and burn. It is a kind of cinematic deterioration. 

*the absolute worst thing about this film was the ending. There is no revelation, no apocalypse, no death/rebirth moment. Everything is just horrible. And that is what Coppolla leaves us with. We expect the worst, and get something that can never meet that expectation. THAT is what makes this film complicated/truthful/dishonest/powerful/terrible/upsetting/depressing/many many other feelings.

 

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