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Old 05-30-2011, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Old Town Alexandria
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Ok Ive watched this about 4- 5 times over the years...I know it had brilliant insights and was based on Conrad's "Heart of darkness".

But can anyone add some info- if they were in war- what it meant for them....the visuals were amazing but alot of people i think miss the point.....
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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I think it should be watched in conjunction with the many other films that have treated the Vietnamn War.

Yes, it helps to have read Heart of Darkness, but it is also the style of the film and how it relates, specifically, to the Vietnam War: the randomness, feelings of alienation (the trip down the river in the boat; the dog disappearing is key) and, especially, the completely chaotic-to-the-point-of-absurdity (the Playboy bunnies appearance, the surfing while bombs explode all around) tone of the film. If you pay close attention, the leaders make no sense and Kurtz, who has gone "crazy," actually makes more sense (or, at least, tries to make sense) than the innured commanders (like Duval's character, who really is crazy b/c he isn't affected by anything).

The Deer Hunter's Russian roulette sequences were meant to convey the same feelings of randomness (as in, people dying for no reason and living through it by a complete matter of luck and chance) and pointless waste of human life.

Both films also delve into the paradoxical mental anguish that many of the soldiers felt: how those deemed "crazy" were probably the most aware and sensitive, and thus even more humanistic than the beauracrats sending them to fight (remember Kurtz's speech about Sheen's character being "an errand boy"). Both Kurtz and Michael explore the concept of "humanity" as a result of their experiences in the war and, paradoxically, are almost portrayed as coming out of the war as better/wiser people: Michael can no longer hunt and Kurtz respects his enemy; both recognize how horrific the war is as well as the destructive yet futile nature of the violence.

It's interesting that Heart of Darkness began by exploring colonization and, then, the same themes of humanity were picked up by writers such as Celine and filmmakers such as Coppola et al. as a reaction to war rather than colonization. Makes you wonder if there is a difference

BTW, I was never in the war, I've just been exposed to a lot of materials dealing with the war as well as a couple of people who have served, but I find the topic facinating, especially cultural reactions to war (in all countries).
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Old Town Alexandria
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exploring colonization...that is interesting to me.....yes the dog disappearing was upsetting.... When I watched this w. my dad he told me not to ask.....imo alot of war veterans who saw the real thing dont talk about it....it makes sense....the visuals in apocalypse were wild....the colors, etc.......
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamofmonterey View Post
exploring colonization...that is interesting to me.....yes the dog disappearing was upsetting.... When I watched this w. my dad he told me not to ask.....imo alot of war veterans who saw the real thing dont talk about it....it makes sense....the visuals in apocalypse were wild....the colors, etc.......
I have actually known people who were in it and who were willing to talk about their experiences. I've also taken a few classes in which one of my professors really impressed upon us the significance of the World Wars in Europe, something that I think a lot of Americans barely remember or even understand b/c the civilians weren't living with it on a daily basis.

The man I knew who was in Vietnam said that it was completely random. One day, he was in the jungle with two other guys, in a line. He was in the middle. Both of the men he was with were killed. Surprisingly, he told me he did not have a problem talking about it. I don't know why but I do remember the feeling of randomness that he impressed upon me when he told the story--the sort of randomness that convinces you that God doesn't exist

I started another thread about The Deer Hunter and quite a few people who knew veterans commented on the film's importance to those who had served.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:34 AM
 
Location: Old Town Alexandria
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Thanks- I did try to watch the Deer Hunter last year again...it was sad, esp. showing how it affects the young men when they returned to their family. Did you ever see the film Full Metal Jacket- that was extremely scary- I had pulled up a site on that re: Kubrick, even tried to read the book it was based on "The Short Timers" by Gustav Hasford.

I will look at your other thread
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
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Yeah..I watched "Redux" a couple of nights ago, and noticed that it contained some scenes that weren't included in the theatrical release. And I can see why those scenes were indeed left on the cutting-room floor. The one with the Bunnies in the chopper, supposedly willing to have sex with those soldiers for fuel oil? Please. Boring and absurd. And that whole deal with the holdout French plantation owners? A Yawnfest.
I love the original Apocolypse. And I disagree with the post which said it's helpful to have read Heart of Darkness in order to fully enjoy and appreciate the movie. Actually, Apocolypse bears precious little resemblance to Conrad's book, and the viewer can easily grasp the theme and meaning of the movie easily without having read the book. Too, the main morals of the two particular stories are also totally different: Conrad depicted The Jungle (Nature) as the main enemy, while Coppola instead chose the surreal absurdity of a huge, technically superior Army and country (the U.S.) being unable to cope with a primal force and peoples. (The chief getting killed by a spear is key.)
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Old Town Alexandria
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The French segment was only interesting in that it (sort of) describes the colonialists and the futility of war...the reasons people were sold a bill of goods for the Vietnam War, and other wars as well, probably.

I agree w. you on the playboy/helicopter scene (whats with the parrots? lol), just seemed stupid, but also was pretty graphic, I guess to show how demoralizing in general everything may have felt over there.

The cinematography and shots of the jungle at night were just unreal, very well-done and seemed like a real nightmare.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:49 AM
 
Location: The Lakes Region
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For those interested, "Street Without Joy" by Bernard Fall provides a very detailed account of the French disaster in the 1950's before the US got dragged into it. It was originally a French colony before WWII.
Vo Nguen Giap, the head of the North Vietnamese Army stated many years after the war that he was grateful to the US media and the anti war movement in America for helping his army after the Tet offensive in 1968 and the bombing of Hanoi & Haiphong in the early 70's by Nixon because he was ready to surrender on both occasions, had it not been for their impact on the American public at home.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Old Town Alexandria
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thanks, will have to read that. I did read the Robert McNamara book. very complicated.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Maine
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I hated the Redux. Completely self-indulgent horse poo. Totally destroyed any sympathy for the protagonists.

The theatrical cut is one of the most brilliant movies of the past 40 years.
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