Apocalypse Now (15) + Q&A with special guest Walter Murch
Organised by the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies in partnership with Aberystwyth Arts Centre
6.30pm, Thursday 23 March. Screened in the theatre.
Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now was one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the 1970s. The wunderkind director had shot to prominence with his direction of The Godfather (1972) and was at the vanguard of the new ‘Movie Brats’ auteurs, along with Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and George Lucas.
Coppola’s film transposes the novel’s setting of Victorian colonialists in the Congo to the American experience in Vietnam, a useful and powerful parallel for those who had opposed the war there and the US government’s foreign policies. The Kurtz of the novel becomes an American colonel who has deserted his command and is fighting the war, with an army of renegades, on his own terms. Another officer is despatched into the jungle to end this apparent desertion with ‘extreme prejudice’ – that is, to assassinate Kurtz. The film won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Festival, followed by Oscar success. The critics and public alike were fascinated by its drug-tinged surrealism and black humour. At the time it was hailed as the ultimate anti-war film.
Walter Murch has been editing sound in Hollywood since starting on Francis Ford Coppola's film The Rain People (1969). He edited sound on American Graffiti (1973) and The Godfather: Part II (1974), won his first Academy Award nomination for The Conversation (1974), won his first Oscar for Apocalypse Now (1979), and won an unprecedented double Oscar for Best Sound and Best Film Editing for his work on The English Patient (1996). Most recently he helped reconstruct Touch of Evil (1958) to Orson Welles' original notes, and edited The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). Mr. Murch was, along with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, a founding member of northern California cinema. Mr. Murch has directed --Return to Oz (1985) -- and longs to do so again, but as an editor and sound man he is one of the few universally acknowledged masters in his field. For his work on the film "Apocalypse Now (1979)", Walter coined the term "sound designer", and along with colleagues such as Ben Burtt, helped to elevate the art and impact of film sound to a new level.