I later learned that people of just about every faith known to man saw references to their religion in Groundhog Day. In fact, Vietnamese voices are rarely even heard, and when they are, they are bodiless, a mere aural complement to images of graphic casualties. Vietnam in Heaven & Earth is still a wartime country, but it is also full of hope and life. During the introduction, our first glimpse of Willard arrives as a close-up of his inverted face, and as The Doors anticipate “The End,” the scene is interspersed with dreamlike images foreshadowing what is to come. This cut was re-edited by Coppola and Walter Murch and features a new Technicolor dye prints with additional footage originally left out of the theatrical release. Colonel “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” Kilgore (the deservedly award-laden Robert Duvall). Required fields are marked *. Francis Ford Coppola employed one predominant theme in the creation of his film Apocalypse Now Redux – the Hero’s Journey. Recognizing the forces and facts in play pushes the audience to look beyond Apocalypse Now’s canonical idolization and instead critically and empathetically re-evaluate the historically and politically befuddled landscape in which Coppola’s auteurist aesthetics operates. Nevertheless, despite the elaborate mise en scène, a sense of emptiness and rootlessness lingers in these frames. APOCALYPSE NOW chronicles a languid slide into a very special kind of hell. Given Coppola’s whimsical use of the name Hau Fat (how fat) to represent a center of American materialism in Vietnam, and his moniker for the surfing crazed Colonel Kilgore, it would make sense that he employed a similar device in naming the bridge. But we know Kurtz is tiring of this cold logic. Wine and cognac are drunk. AP/REX/Shutterstock. Indeed, as Willard terminates Colonel Kurtz, the image is crystallized when the Montagnard warriors slay a bull at precisely the same instant, and in so doing remove its head. Their attitude represents the will to power, the urge to dominate the material world in a controlling manner, and to hold on to the consciousness of the lower chakras. This sentiment is reflected later in the French plantation scene when Madam Sarrault whispers in Captain Willard’s ears about his two selves: “one that kills and one that loves.” Apocalypse Now views Vietnam as a mythical land full of unknowable, exotic forces, implying that not just the war but the country itself possesses some power to cast the American soldiers into the dark side. The cinematography of the scene is ghostly, as if the French inhabitants arrive out of the past to haunt the Americans and warn them of the mistake they are making: Fortunately, there are some fairly obvious examples of ancient metaphor in movies. Christian: “Why don’t you Americans learn from us, from our mistakes? Your email address will not be published. Might we consider the two antagonists an externalization of Willard’s own killer/lover conflict? Willard’s symbolic “crucifixion”, unconscious captivity in the container, as well as subsequent recovery suggests the death, entombment and resurrection of Jesus. It is 1969: the Vietnam War has been going on for fourteen years,  and will continue for five more. In the context of the tantric system, the attitude of the military in this case symbolizes a psychology selfishly obsessed with the material needs of the human animal. The Chakra System

Apocalypse Now Redux is based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and like Conrad’s novel is the story of a hero who travels upriver to confront a man reportedly gone insane with power.

While Willard remains conspicuously inverted, Buddha’s face stands perfectly upright. Captain Willard, a special operations veteran of multiple tours, is sent upriver into the jungle on a naval launch. My God, with your army, your strength, your power… you could win if you wanted to!”. But does it stand up? The seventh is found near the top of the head. Kurtz is reduced from the apex of the madness of war to a collection of philosophical platitudes. Against the surreal excellence of the remainder of the film, these foibles are forgivable. But given that there is a dark side inherent to all of these qualities (warfare, selfishness, and exploitation to name a few), it seems we all have an apocalyptic battle to be fought inside of ourselves – a battle between forces of a purely animal, selfish nature, and those of a compassionate being who understands we are all in it together. But if we permit our religious symbols to be informed by our knowledge of the Tantric Chakra System, we find a much different meaning. This balance is attained when the two sets of chakras reflect each other. But the idea that watching some of my favorite movies could be more than just a temporary distraction was compelling to me, and over time, I became more and more on the lookout for symbolic references in film. After passing through this “initiation”, Willard travels far upriver, encountering many obstacles in his path before arriving at Kurtz’ compound, where he is taken prisoner and nearly reduced to death by his confinement.

The Vietnamese were nothing. These sculptures – often seen in Buddhist culture as the sideways glancing faces on the “Three Headed Buddha” – represent a passage through what had been perceived as pairs of opposites, moving towards the realization that they are actually two parts of a single continuum. Departure It’s a ridiculous line, a bizarre simplification of Vietnam’s enduring and complex colonial history, yet the film treats it with noble respect, the camera lovingly gazing on the glistening white slowly slipping out of its shell.

All of this, like the Vietnam War itself, is not news—Vincent Canby called Apocalypse Now a “profoundly anticlimactic intellectual muddle” in his 1979 New York Times review—but the need for a reckoning remains no less urgent. The panoramic signposts are all there—dark tropical forests, huts and rice fields—and are part of iconic images in film history. By Feeling Seen is a regular column focusing on personal reflections on films from different authors and writers. The Vietnam War was singular at the time because of its extensive televisual documentation: it was the first war to be broadcast up close, in color, and while it was happening. None of the Vietnamese figures in the documentary are given the same treatment, nor is a linear account developed around any of them. Lastly, a gauzy woman swans in to spout profundities about the duality of man and provide us with a serving of obligatory manic pixie boobs (because all films, even great ones, require female nudity to keep the audience engaged). In amongst a series of vignettes of increasing insanity, this segment appears to have parachuted in from a different movie. If you would like to cover festivals, conduct interviews or write reviews and features for us, please get in touch. Beyond the bridge is Cambodia, a “no mans land” where American soldiers were supposedly not authorized to conduct operations.

This theme is further taken up at the River Outpost scene, in which Willard trades one valued material commodity – some diesel fuel – for what is evidently viewed as another commodity: “a couple of hours with the bunnies.”, I find it interesting that Coppola chose the name Do Lung Bridge as a major dividing line in the film. July 9, 2019. Perhaps Kurtz represents the human mind taken to its extremity when not informed by compassion – a mind obsessed with material matters and tortured by conflict between the logic of war and the injury it does to his soul. And if his story is really a confession, then so is mine.” In this respect, Apocalypse Now appears less of a war film than an entry in the cowboys-and-Indians tradition whereby the white protagonist must cling to the goodness of civilization in the face of pure barbaric evil.

Perhaps the most striking images used by Coppola to convey the idea of Willard’s evolution are the Buddha sculptures that bookend his film. Similarly, without resilience, Vietnam could not have endured centuries of Chinese, French, Japanese, and American occupation. Demarais:“See, Captain, when my grandfather and my uncle’s father came here, there was nothing. The abandonment of historical realism in Apocalypse Now’s depiction of Vietnam becomes understandable considering that the film’s primary concern does not lie with the Vietnamese side. Ironically, in their superior attitude and attachment to the past, they hold fast to their burden even as they caution the Americans: The fifth chakra, for example, becomes a mirror image of the third.

We are exposed, a raw nerve – surrounded by fire, smoke, constant explosions. Your email address will not be published. Synopsis In The Power of Myth, Campbell proposed that our ancient mythological and religious symbols are losing their potency, and if they are to remain relevant, they need to evolve in tandem with our constantly changing consciousness. No one knows who is in charge, and everything is on fire. Hearing her comment in the context of the chakra system, we can imagine the one who kills being driven by the lower chakras, and the one that loves being motivated by compassion. Willard must confront this aspect of himself, bring light to his “Heart of Darkness”, and terminate the schizophrenic division of killer/lover. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) A small moment in Apocalypse Now Redux captures the film’s ethos even better than any gruesome battle scene. He turns off the radio. And they are almost never seen in close-ups—the way Western characters are instantly rendered as psychologized beings. Kurtz has him nursed back to health, at which point Willard finally completes his mission before laying down his weapon. Phuong Le

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