[MOVIE REVIEW]Coppola Reups - for 3 Hours

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[MOVIE REVIEW]Coppola Reups - for 3 Hours

It was late at night in a London hotel. The director Francis Ford Coppola turned on a television and saw his 1979 release "Apocalypse Now." Coppola was amazed to see that his film, considered a complex artistic piece, was still aired on television as a popular movie, even though 20 years had passed.

"I realized that now people can really follow the theme of the film, and became confident that now I can express the message more clearly," Coppola said. He recalled the very first version of the film, which was more than five hours long. Coppola reworked the lengthy film with the help of contemporary technology to restore the color and sound, and released "Apocalypse Now Redux," to debut Aug. 31 in Korea.

"This is not a director's cut. It's a restored, entirely new version," Coppola insisted. His efforts paid off at the 57th Cannes International Film Festival this year, when audiences greeted the film with wild applause.

The basic plot is no great departure - the film chronicles Captain Willard's (Martin Sheen) long journey through Vietnam to Cambodia, on a mission to take out Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who has become a deity to a local tribe and to his own troops. Along the intense journey, Willard takes on the persona of the man he has to kill. Coppola added 49 minutes of footage in four main sections. A rare light-hearted scene in which Willard and other soldiers mischievously steal Captain Kilgore's surf board was restored. Also, Coppola added a scene in which Willard meets the Playboy girls, brought in to entertain the troops, and exchanges gasoline for two hours of their company. More significant are the last two supplements - Willard encounters a French family maintaining their lifestyle as colonial rulers. "Good does not always triumph," explains one Frenchman, to illustrate the pointlessness of war. Finally, a philosophical conversation between Kurtz and Willard was added, in which Marlon Brando asserts, "You have the right to kill me, but you don't have the right to judge me."

This restored redux version does not aim to wow the audience with new graphic technology. It still takes physical as well as mental strength to watch 196 minutes of wartime insanity. Coppola has reconfirmed that this film is a timeless classic. Two decades did not let the drama lose intensity - instead, it uplifted a masterful film and gave it a renewed strength and precision.

by Chun Su-jin

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