One of the reasons I am so fucked up in real life, particularly in the absolute pain in the heart during office hours, of absolute abhorance of no purpose in life because of office is reflected in my absolute fascination of the vietnam war movie genre. More than the entire genre, the specific “in the Vietnam jungles looking for Charlie” sequence. There is Platoon. There is Saving Private Ryan. There’s Rambo 2. There is the deep mythical and stoned Apocalypse Now. And there is the absolute no holds barred Tropic Thunder. Hell, there’s even a portion in Forrest Gump. That sequence is always there. A number of soldiers, absolutely alert, are walking through a jungle, preferably at night, through mine laden country, without any understanding of what they are doing and why. And yet, there is danger everywhere. So they have to be alert moving through Vietnam country all the time. And yet, they do not know why.”
I am an indian! How the fuck do I identify with the absolute purposelessness of it all with this in Viet fucking Nam? I don’t even know anything more about the war than the movies. Except for an article here and there.
And yet, that sequence entrances me. Everytime. I get lost.
What is it about the “moving in the befuddling dark wilderness fraught with danger both landmines and crocodiles without knowing the purpose of it at all” appeal to me in a very close real sense?
But if anyone asks you ever, who is the big papa of them all?
Always tell them. Marlon Brando.
Through the entire movie, entire of Apocalypse Now, I was as scared of Kurtz as every single moment of the film was. And then Brando shows up like he does at the end of the fucking high.
Every single little celluloid moment of him in the half darkness mouthing absolute crap craziness (he was all making it up, he never had memorized the dialogues). (And he was in the half darkness, coz he had shown up to the costliest movie shoot of his life overly fat). Yes, here, the director looks like this, for a reason.
And out of that, came out Apocalypse Now. If there is ever a film with a myth, Apocalypse is it.
From the wiki page,
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 epic war film set during the Vietnam War. It tells the tale of Army Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) who is sent into the jungle to assassinate United States Army Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who has gone AWOL and is believed to be insane. The film was produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script by Coppola, John Milius and Michael Herr, based on Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness, as well as drawing elements from Herr’s Dispatches, the film version of Conrad’s Lord Jim (which shares the same character of Marlow with Heart of Darkness), and from Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972).
The film became notorious in the entertainment press due to its lengthy and troubled production as documented in Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. Marlon Brando showed up to the set overweight and Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack. The production was also beset by extreme weather that destroyed several expensive sets. In addition, the release date of the film was delayed several times as Coppola struggled to come up with an ending and edit the millions of feet of footage that he had shot.
The character of Colonel Kurtz is widely believed to be modeled after a famous CIA Paramilitary Officer named Tony Poe from their famed Special Activities Division. Poe was known to use human ears to record the number of enemy killed. He sent these ears back to the CIA station as proof of his efforts deep into enemy territory in Laos. Poe was one of the very few that received two Intelligence Stars for his actions in combat. These are the second highest award for valor in the CIA and analogous to the U.S. Military’s Silver Star.
The film won the Cannes Palme d’Or and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture — Drama.