Apocalypse Now and again

By Shotgun CinemaPublished on 08/12/2019

One exciting thing to see in New Orleans-area theaters this week is Francis Ford Coppola’s 40th anniversary re-cut of Apocalypse Now, which updates both the 1979 original and Coppola’s 2001 Apocalypse Now Redux re-cut. While it’s not always easy to encounter, Apocalypse Now is one of the most mythologized American films of all time, from its source (Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness) to its production to its regular appearance on G.O.A.T. lists.

IndieWire has a pretty solid rundown of what has occurred technically that allows Coppola to, he claims, finally realize his true vision for the film. Both picture and sound benefited from digital care to optimize Vittorio Storaro’s stunning cinematography and sound designer Walter Murch’s revolutionary 5.1 sound mix, which is still a benchmark for expressiveness and power in film sound. Given the advancements in digital projection and digital sound since Redux was released (on DVD!), it seems like theaters are finally equipped to do justice to the intensity of Coppola’s vision.

But you won’t have many chances to see it, in frustratingly similar circumstances to last year’s 50th anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey – which I’m not sure even played in New Orleans, despite releases of both a newly scanned theatrical version and a Christopher Nolan-supervised version from different elements. AMC Elmwood has two screenings – this Thursday 8/15 at 7:00pm and Sunday 8/18 at 2:00pm. Do yourself a favor and see a stone-cold classic this week. (TB)

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