Brown/Apocalypse Now and Apocalypse Later
”original” version in shifting cultural contexts, a concept that is increasingly less critical,as multiple versions can be “authorized.”ART IMITATES LIFEThe ambiguity as to Apocalypse Now’s true shape and specific narrative reflects our ownshifting relationship to the film, as an audience, and its role as a cultural and historical barometer.The myth of AN
began before it was released – its troubled production became a matter of public record as reports of bad weather, firings and health problems of the actors, aswell as Coppola’s budgetary woes and apparent increasing megalomania and profligacyfilled newspapers and gossip columns worldwide.The root of the problem may be found in Coppola’s attempt to have his film embrace allthe contradictions of war, imperialism, and morality. During his press conference atCannes, Coppola tried to defend why the film got away from him:My film is not a movie. My film is not about Vietnam. It
Vietnam. It’s what itwas really like. It was crazy… and the way we made it was very much like theway the Americans were in Vietnam. We were in the jungle, we had access to toomuch money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane.
Coppola submitted the first public version after last-minute editing and much publicspeculation to the 1977 Cannes Film Festival, as a “work in progress.”
This was the firsttime a film had ever been shown that was unfinished. Although winning the Palme d’Or in that form, Coppola would further tinker with it (and test screen it) before opening adeluxe version in 70mm for initial release, then adjusting it again for the wider 35mm