Vanishing Myths: Influences and Rewrites in the Epilogue of Apocalypse Now

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Title: Vanishing Myths: Influences and Rewrites in the Epilogue of Apocalypse Now
Authors: García Escrivá, Vicente
Research Group/s: Medios, Discursos y Expresión Audiovisual (MEDEA) | FUTURLAB - Laboratorio de Prospectiva de la Universidad de Alicante
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Comunicación y Psicología Social
Keywords: Film text | Apocalypse Now | Myths | Epilogue
Knowledge Area: Comunicación Audiovisual y Publicidad
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Quarterly Review of Film and Video. 2018, 35(2): 153-170. doi:10.1080/10509208.2017.1348175
Abstract: In a film text, just as in any other narrative, the ending represents a crucial moment in which an essential part of its meaning is rendered manifest. In the case of Apocalypse Now (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1979), the ending constitutes a particularly delicate, and to a considerable extent controversial, episode. It has often been argued that the conclusion appears somewhat unconvincing, seen in the light of the remainder of the film. A number of commentators have dismissed the ending as feeble or even incoherent, a remarkable verdict in view of the eschatological implications of the film's title pointing to a catastrophic end of the world. In an essay published shortly after the film was released, Marsha Kinder, referring to its final stages, concludes that for Apocalypse Now, “claustrophobic pressure is so intense and the building of the momentum so powerful that some of the slower, more symbolic scenes at Kurtz's compound don't work.” Two decades later, in a conversation with Walter Murch, Michael Ondaatje comments, “the finale didn't have the danger and clarity that was there in the rest of the film. There was a ‘religious’ or ‘mythical’ pitch I didn't fully believe.” Ondaatje's hopes that the extended version—Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)—which was still in the making at the time of the conversation, would bring greater clarity to the film probably turned out to be vain, the epilogue having been left untouched. In fact, a number of reviews written after the release of the Redux version repeated the same unfavorable remarks. For example, in the opinion of A. O. Scott, “the main criticism of “Apocalypse Now”, which the new version does not quite dispel, is that it falls apart at the end, with the arrival of Marlon Brando and the apparent departure of the screenplay.”
ISSN: 1050-9208 (Print) | 1543-5326 (Online)
DOI: 10.1080/10509208.2017.1348175
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - MEDEA - Artículos de Revistas
INV - FUTURLAB - Artículos de Revistas

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