Despite the success of his film about the Vietnam War – Golden Palm former aequo at the Cannes Film Festival in 1979 and which became a benchmark of the Seventh Art – Coppola was never really satisfied with his original work, which had condensed into 2:33 am
In 2001, he made a new 49-minute extended version, "Apocalypse Now Redux", with scenes that had been deleted from the original version.
3H01's "Apocalypse Now: Final Cut", which premiered on Thursday in the United States before a Blu-Ray edition was released, is a compromise between its previous versions, with a first-time restoration. time from the original negative, which took almost a year to complete, and improved image quality.
"The best version of the movie," according to the filmmaker, this "Final Cut", first presented in April at the Tribeca Festival in New York, "has a superior picture and sound quality than before," he said. "The public will be able to see, hear and feel this movie as I always dreamed," he added.
In New York, the 80-year-old filmmaker stated that he "always regretted some cuts" he had to make in 1979, but that the second version seemed "perhaps too long," hence the third.
The restoration highlights the obsessive relationship that the director of "The Godfather" had with this classic movie.
Former Cannes Festival president Gilles Jacob recalls in a book that in 1979 Coppola "reached such a level of obsessive madness that in the month before [do Festival de] Cannes "has created" one end a week ".
Jacob says that the American filmmaker presented in Cannes two possible endings. A "last doubt" that arose to crown his "inability" to "mount fifty thousand meters of film" and "decide between different mounts", a job that took more than two years, Jacob said.
First of all, the filming of this free adaptation of Joseph Conrad's novel, which tells the story of Captain Willard (Martin Sheen in the film), charged with finding and eliminating Colonel Kurtz (played by Marlon Brando), was fraught with unimaginable difficulties. .
A filmmaker willing to risk
"We were in the jungle. We were too many. We had too much money, too much material. And little by little we became crazy," said Coppola at the Cannes Film Festival.
Filming began on March 20, 1976 in the Philippines. Expected to last a few weeks, it eventually lasted 238 days.
Problems with actors first arose: Chosen especially after Steve McQueen's refusal, Harvey Keitel disliked Coppola. He replaced him with Martin Sheen, but he suffered a heart attack in 1977 and had to be absent for several weeks. As for Marlon Brando, he arrived without having prepared.
The weather conditions were also very difficult. In late May 1976, Typhoon Olga destroyed the scenery and material, which halted production for six weeks.
Added to this were the paranoid outbreaks of Coppola under the influence of drugs, who lost about 40 pounds and had to mortgage their assets to finance the film. The budget, initially $ 13 million, has risen to $ 30 million, bringing it to the brink of ruin.
"Let's be honest. I was scared," confessed the filmmaker at the Tribeca Festival. But "if we want to make art, we have to accept the risk," he concluded.