Because this is so late, just thoughts on Apocalypse Now

First, sorry this is extremely late; I forgot the fact that the movie was still in fact something we were studying and thus we would have to write a blog post for it still. So since this is so late, I’m just going to spew out some of my thoughts about the movie.

-As Jon said in lecture, the movie is quite dense visually, more so in the beginning as Willard and his troop are at the start of their journey such as when they arrive at their first shore; there’s a film crew, people running around  , a flame throwing tank, helicopters, etc. Then the scenes with Kilgore are even more dense such as the ride of the Valkyries scene? They jump cut quickly to scenes of them shooting at the village, the villagers shooting back, the soldiers excited faces, vertigo-inducing POV shots of the helicopter racing through the sky. This all adds to the dizzying, dream like quality the film portrays.

-Another interesting thing Jon brought up was the aestethicthication (that is not correct spelling!) of violence. The ride of the valkyries scene can be considered beautiful; the addition of Wagner exalts the scene from its initial cruelty into something majestic. Even the controversial animal sacrifice scene could get considered. You don’t really want to look at it happening, yet it still has a mesmerizing quality as it is shown next to Kurtz’s murder which is also beautiful in a way; by comparing the killing of the cow to the killing of Kurtz, it to is exalt from its initial cruelty, now to something highly symbolic and charged, appropriated to a new idea different from its original. Kurtz’s murder is varying shots between Willard swinging his machete, through the half-light and Kurtz swinging, bloodied through the darkness; it is a highly cinematized, chorea graphed death, thus beautified.

-the movie was also much more clear about the ironies inherent in the portrayed ‘superior’ people (in this case the Americans) than Heart of Darkness. both Willard and Kurtz continuously comment on the hypocrisies of the army (soldiers can’t write ‘fuck’ on their helicoptors because it is obscene yet they are taught to drop napalm) and we see how idiotic and unserious some of them are about war like Lance openly sunbathing on the boat or Kilgore trying to catch a good wave after destroying a village, complaining that the dropped napalm ruined the wave.

well, I think that’s it for now, so, so long and thanks for Arts One, as this is my last blog post, this is the end, my only friend, the end…

1 thought on “Because this is so late, just thoughts on Apocalypse Now

  1. Yes, I really found the point about the aestheticization of violence from lecture interesting. I hadn’t thought about this before, and you can definitely see it throughout the film. After Jon mentioned it I thought of also the scene at the Do Lung bridge that is so surreal, partly because (I think) it’s taking on a kind of quality that it might have had for Lance after he takes acid. It is horrifying in terms of the sounds (the desperate shouts, the cries of the “enemy” in the bushes, the sounds of the guns and mortars), but visually, it’s rather beautiful. Well, at least in terms of the lights: the whole bridge is lit up like a Christmas tree with those hanging lights that look almost festive, and there are fireworks going off in the sky that look like a celebration. Of course, juxtaposed with the horrors of the men trying desperately to get away by jumping into the river and begging to be taken home, and the men in the trenches either hysterical or catatonic, it takes on a more disturbing aspect, but there is still some beauty in the disturbance.

    I hadn’t really paid attention to such things before, nor considered whether beautifying violence could be a dangerous thing. Could it romanticize it somehow? make it seem less problematic so people might be less concerned about it? So if attacking Vietnamese villages is like the heroes flying over the ants and crushing them to a soundtrack of power and strength, we’ll overlook the horror of what is really happening? Possibly so, and I appreciated the opportunity to think about that more carefully.

    I’m sorry to see you all go, but I’m glad to have had the chance to read your blog posts this year! It has been a way for people to provide some thoughts/ideas/questions that may not get brought up in class, and this has given me much food for thought over the year!

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