The films of the American director George Hickenlooper, who has died unexpectedly aged 47, straddled several genres, but he will be best remembered as a documentary maker thanks to his most celebrated work, Hearts of Darkness: A Film-maker’s Apocalypse (1991). This riveting account of the troubled gestation of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam war epic Apocalypse Now (1979) combined behind-the-scenes footage shot by Coppola’s wife, Eleanor, with retrospective accounts by the cast and crew.
Hickenlooper observed “a strong parallel between Francis making the movie and the war itself. He really delved into the most sordid aspects of his own character.” As Apocalypse Now‘s budget and schedule ran out of control – and its leading man, Martin Sheen, had a heart attack – Coppola was consumed by fears and self-doubt, as captured in the documentary. “There were too many of us, we had access to too much equipment, too much money, and little by little we went insane… read more