The Michigan Daily
Friday, March 27, 1992
Explore the dark side
Coppola loses it in Apocalypse Now documentary
Hearts of Darkness:
dir. Fax Bahr and George
by Aaron Hamburger
A t the time of its release, Francis
Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now
must have seemed like the vision of
a madman. How else could anyone
have explained an adaptation of the
classic Joseph Conrad novel Heart
of Darkness set in Vietnam, starring
spacy Marlon Brando, spaced-out
Dennis Hopper and an actor named
The new documentary Hearts of
Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apoca-
lypse explains how the making of
Apocalypse Now was indeed an act
of insanity on the part of everyone
The power of Hearts of Darkness
lies in the fact that it's not just a
record of the act of moviemaking,
but the act of creating art itself. The
crazy passion that Coppola brings to
the making of a grandiose horse
opera like Apocalypse Now is the
same passion that an artist like
Christo brings to his large outdoor
works of art, like his wrapping of is-
lands in pink plastic, or his hanging
of a huge curtain between two
Whether it's curtains or movies,
the point of Hearts of Darkness is
that to create art, sometimes you
have to go a little insane. And the
people who put together Apocalypse
Now went a lot insane.
Directors Fax Bahr (a University
graduate) and George Hickenlooper
skillfully combine on-site footage
taken by Coppola's wife Eleanor,
clips from the actual film, and cur-
rent interviews with those involved
in the production. The editing in
Darkness is at least as good as that
of the much-hyped JFK, and it's a
lot closer to the facts.
The production of Apocalypse
Now seemed doomed from every
angle. Coppola had to replace the
original star, Harvey Keitel, with
Martin Sheen, who eventually suf-
fered a heart attack. Marlon Brando
threatened not to show at all (and
keep his one million dollar advance),
then showed up late and too fat, and
ruined the ending of the film with
his incoherent mumblings.
And then there's Dennis Hopper.
One of the funniest parts of Hearts
of Darkness involves the director
trying to convince an obviously
stoned-out-of-his-mind Hopper to
learn his lines (which he promptly
forgets). The twisted logic is from
Alice in Wonderland.
Coppola didn't fare much better
with his on-site location, the
Philippines. When it wasn't swelter-
ingly humid, there were violent
monsoons which delayed the filming
and sent the movie overbudget.
When the weather calmed down,
Francis Ford Coppola tries desperately to make a pathetically stoned, freedom-rockin' Dennis Hopper remember
his lines in Hearts of Darkness, a documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now.
Coppola found his set in the middle
of a civil war.
Whether or not you think
Apocalypse Now is a masterpiece,
you've got to admire Coppola's
perseverance in making this movie.
Most of the time it didn't have an
ending, a full cast or a plan.
Coppola himself took an interest-
ing view of the situation. According
to the director, the insanity involved
in the making of Apocalypse Now
mirrored the feeling of insanity that
went on in Vietnam so well that the
film succeeds due to, rather than in
spite of, the obstacles involved in
the filmmaking process. Coppola.
says, "My movie is not about
Vietnam. It is Vietnam."
After seeing Hearts of Darkness,
it's tough to argue with the guy.
HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILM-
MAKER'S APOCALYPSE is playing
at the Michigan Theater.
Hume Cronyn plays,
by Jenny McKee They reminisce about the beliefs an(
personalities that are distinguishe(
How do you deal with the past? Do by their relatives Appalachian or
you let go of tradition and memories gins. The play was written by Susai
and let progress run its course, or do Cooper and Hume Cronyn (that';
you hold onto what was once good right, the Cocoon man himself, an(
and fight to maintain it? These issues husband of Academy Award Winne:
lie at the core of the Ann Arbor Jessica Tandy).
Civic Theatre's production of The play's central characte:
Foxfire. Annie Nations (Nancy Heusel), is,
The play is based on a set of 79- year-old widow living on
books that chronicles young people's mountain farm that has been in he
remembrances of their grandparents. family for generations. She's no
with a burning past
completely alone there, however; the
ghost of her acerbic husband Hector
(Robin Barlow) remains on the farm
Annie's troubles begin when a
real estate developer visits with a
desire to turn her farm into a
vacation spot. The old woman is torn
between staving on the farm with the
ghost of her husband and moving to
the city with her son and two
grandchildren. The conflict causes
her to relive many moments of her
former life with Hector.
"I love it," says director Susan
Morris. "It's hard to explain why
you love a play - there's just
something about it that's really mov-
Morris chose the play herself.
"With Second Stage productions, the
directors get to choose the plays they
want to do. Main Stage productions
have to be approved by a commit-
With a cast of only six actors and
three musicians, Foxfire works sub-
tly, gently mixing humor, music, and
charm while addressing generational
differences in lifestyles and values.
"It's been a real challenge," con-
cludes Morris, "but I love it, I've
had a great time with it." It sounds
like the audience will, too.
FOXFIRE will play at the Ann Arbor
Civic Theatre (1035 S. Main St.)
tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m.
and will run through April 11.
Tickets are $7 (two for one on
Thursdays). Call 662-7282.
dir. Howard Brookner
In 1914, in a safe, upper-middle-class St. Louis suburb, William Seward
Burroughs II- the man who would eventually write Naked Lunch, possibly
the most controversial book since The Bible - was born. Thoroughly detail-
ing Big Bill's charmed life is Burroughs, Howard Brookner's rather
straightforward documentary that started out as a 20-minute project for a
New York University film class.
Admittedly, David Cronenberg was able to capture the spirit of "Bill
Lee" much more vividly in his film version of Naked Lunch, which ended
up being more about the purgative act of writing than an adaptation of the
novel itself. But he had a big enough budget to buy Roy Scheider and an
army of drug-crazed Muppets.
Brookner, on the other hand, proves that just the facts are more than ade-
quate when you're dealing with a biography as compelling as Burroughs'.
The film features extensive interviews with Burroughs himself, and cov-
ers all of the stuff that might've made the tabloids (if the tabloids covered
underground Beat writers instead of Roseanne Arnold): Burroughs as
junkie; Burroughs accidentally shooting and killing his wife Joan during a
drunken game of William Tell; Burroughs becoming romantically involved
with fellow Beat writer Allen Ginsberg; Burroughs' work being banned.
But it's the little details that make Burroughs worth watching, whether
it's the Man showing off his impressive gun and knife collection or an in-
terview with his somewhat fazed brother or a visit to the Bunker, his win-
dowless New York City apartment.
And Brookner does add some unforgettable touches - perhaps best of
all, a reenactment of the great Emergency Surgery scene from Naked Lunch, '
with Burroughs playing his alter-ego, Dr. Benway, who sterilizes a plunger
in a toilet bowl and then proceeds to "massage the heart" of his patient,
through her open chest.
See CINEMA, Page 9
The University of Michigan
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Sun. Mar. 29
Tue. Mar. 31
Thu. Apr. 2
"Take Me Back"
U-M Gospel Chorale
with special guest John Reese
Stephen Newby, director and Mark Wilson.
Hill Auditorium, 5 p.m.
University Symphony Orchestra
Donald Schleicher and Matthew Savery,
Mozart: Overture to The Impresario
Webern: Six Pieces for Orchestra
Mahler: Symphony No.1
Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Early Music Ensemble
Edward Parmentier, director
Choral works, madrigals, harpsichord duets,
motets and instrumental works for bassoon
Blanche Anderson Moore Hall, 8 p.m.
Ed Sarath, director
North Campus Commons, 8 p.m.
Shakespeare: As You Like It
Tickets: $9 (764-0450)
Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.
Jerry Blackstone, conductor
Works by Bruckner, Gabrieli and Wilberg
Hill Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Rape and r
Art Against Rape:
Art's for Survival
Michigan Union Art Lounge
Before seeing this art display.
had never encountered an exhil
based on the theme of rape. My c
riosity drove me to the Art Loun
in the Union, where Art Again,
Rape: Art's For Survival is on d
play. I expected to see a graphic p
trayal of the violent act. The
abstract and fresh works, howev
speak of the aftermath of rape-
hostile feelings are all that is left.
The brave artists who contribul
to the exhibit offer a channel throu
which they acknowledge their fe
ings of despair, loneliness and lo
of control. The artists themselves-
who've released their emotio
through many different media-
age are portrayed with art
have all been victims of physical in a bird cage that is a haunting im-
abuse. age of rape's entrapment. Dolls that
Natasha Raymond's array of ab- are weathered and tossed away mir-
stract and vibrant paintstrokes sug- ror society's lack of respect for hu-
I gest a victim's feelings of rage. Her man dignity.
bit strong bold strokes of blues, reds The poetry written by Marigrace
u- and yellows reflect her fury. Randazzo is a blatantly and tearfully
ge On Display Everywhere, one of realistic portrayal of the tortured
nst Raymond's more obvious endeavors, feelings of days, (hopefully) past.
is- shows a naked woman lying down; Child Abuse and Love, Uncon-
Or- the slanted angle of her body suggest ditional? are poems that conjure the
the effects of rape. The portrait is frightful feelings of injury.
full of the colors of a raging fire, but These artists have experienced
ese the subject's face is cool in blue. abuse differently and their mediums
er, Several magazine collages cre- for portraying their misery are var-
- ated by participants in groups for ied, allowing the audience to indi-
sexual assault survivors are expres- vidually sense the feelings of rape
ted sively angry. The dominant theme of that have long been feared and ig-
gh these works is control: its loss, nored. The clear and simple poetry
el- where it lies and who has it. Written make the direct pain of the victim
oss statements within the collages such easily comprehensible.
- as, "The Cold War... men/women" Viewers must delve into their
ons and "When your image is frozen in own personal feelings to reach the
- time" exhibit mass media's promo- underlying hurt in the more abstract
Lion of offensive and even detrimen- works. The exhibit's pieces are all
tal images of women. powerful to those willing to confront
Sherry Hayne captures the aura what so many choose to avoid.
of shadowed sentiments in her Art Against Rape: Art's For Sur
black-and-white photography. The vival will be on display in the Union
soiled head of a female mannequin is art lounge through Saturday. Ad-
adorned with a helmet and entrapped mission is free. - Carrie Walco
; , -
Fri. Apr. 3
H. Robert Reynolds, director
Rackham Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Sat. Apr. 4
U-M Women's Glee Club
Earl Coleman, conductor
Tickets: $5 and $3 (students and seniors)
Rackham Auditorium, 8 p.m.
U-M Digital Music Ensemble
U-M Dance Improv Ensemble
Multi-media performance incorporating film,
dance, and live and taped music
School of Music McIntosh Theatre, 8 p.m.
Exercise Dood laste
Dinner served Wednesday
5:30 until 7:30
CHEF JAN E CE
TOP GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF
DETROIT COBO HALL NATIONAL CONTEST
WINNER WASHINGTONIAN BLUE RIBBON
BEST CHEF AWARD IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
"ocR RT '.1Iu cRF RcT AHRiANrr1991"-Michan D aily
Sun. Apr. 5
"A Spring Recession Break-Out-
of-Those Blues Good Feeling
U-M Percussion Ensemble
Michael Udow, director
Bruce Chaffin, guest xylophone artist
Music of Green. Brener. Wvre. Udow and
'I ' ii i I
Casual, sit down
I Sundaq Duffet
Y ~Come and try
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