Even at the time Apocalypse Now
was completed, back in 1979, Coppola likened its genesis to the Vietnam war itself: 'It was crazy... we had access to too much money and too much equipment, and little by little we went insane'. This documentary is entirely in agreement with that verdict. Assembled from later interviews and from some 60 hours of footage shot on location in the Philippines (much of it by Coppola's wife Eleanor), the documentary lists a catalogue of disasters: problems with weather and the Filipino government; massive over-expenditure; Martin Sheen's heart attack; actors spaced out on whatever drugs were available; and an elephantine Brando refusing to play a fat character. At once anecdotal and revealing, this excellent film both illuminates the catastrophes that beset one particular project, and shows, by way of comparison, exactly what American film has foregone since the '70s.