Books

Coppola vs Conrad: two cultures into the same story

Coppola vs Conrad: two cultures into the same story
Ignacio Zara

Some of us saw Apocalypse Now when we were just children. Some of us said that child typical phrase ‘boring, so boring’. We just loved the scene with helicopters and Wagner (of course, we didn’t also know anything about Parsifal’s author)… Years passed and all of us watched the film again… Now, with years, the movie had converted into a true reflection of human heart, with Marlon Brando representing the end of all, the end of guilty and the beginning of the human-god.

At Conrad work Heart of Darkness, the trip is the seeking of the sense of life… one human that tries to find in other lands its own land. Land is in the novel the birthplace of conscious and the beginning of a new man that found on prosaic lost words his own kind of madness. In film, Brando is perfect for this role: Kurtz the wise man, Kurtz the criminal, Kurtz at the end of his way.

Adjectives are photograms in films and the Storaro’s photography was a true combination between realistic and baroque, the perfect mix to create a metaphoric canvas about paradoxical human condition. Book talked about a man without country, film talks about a man without the human condition.

But Coppola was an intelligent guy when he moved the movie action to the Vietnam War. Apocalypse Now is not the faithful adaptation of Heart of Darkness, is the film inspired on the Conrad’s novel. Kurtz is based on Kurtz, of course, but Kurtz’s novel is not the Kurtz’s film. We needed to masters to make two different pieces of art, to make together a reflection about the wise work of making movies, of writing books, of making true art.

(See the full text on issue 22. Available on 1st March.)

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