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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro on 'Apocalypse Now'

HBO has just added Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 "Apocalypse Now" to its online streaming platform. I saw a 4K restoration of the film in 2017 at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York where cinematographer Vittorio Storaro was being honored and actually presented the film. In this clip, he recounts when co-producer Fred Roos first approached him with Coppola’s offer. At first, Storaro didn’t think that he was the right person for the project, but after some research into the director's vision for the film, he realized that it would be the opportunity of a lifetime. 

Watch a clip from his presentation..

“He sent Fred Roos – he’s a co-producer – to Rome in 1975 to ask me to be part of the incredible journey of “Apocalypse Now.” I was surprised about that proposal. In fact, I said to Fred Roos, ‘Why me? What do I have to do with a war movie between America and Vietnam? I feel uneasy. I feel it’s not my place. In Italy, I usually do movies with Bertolucci and many other directors about personal, intimate stories.’ Francis was fantastic. He said, ‘I understand you, but don’t worry. This is not a war movie. This is a movie about civilization. Please read a little novel by Joseph Conrad called “Heart of Darkness,” and you will understand the concept that I would like to bring to the movie.’ I read the book and though, Oh my God, he’s right, this is something that also belongs to my journey. This is something that is part of my own thought because it’s a universal concept. The concept of Conrad was when one culture or one civility goes on top of another culture, and makes an act of violence. Francis told me, ‘I want to say the truth.’ And this is perfect because we are using artificial light and artificial color on top of natural light and natural color, and it was making a kind of visual conflict– exactly what the concept of the picture is about.” 

Click here to stream the film on HBO. You have to be a subscriber to access the film. The 4K restoration is also available on Amazon Prime. Click on the image below to stream it. 

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