Watching Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now Redux,” the director’s cut which contained a sequence not originally shown in Cannes, gave me a rather oblique hindsight on the state of the Philippine military in the 1970s.
The Hollywood director, who by then was already made famous and a multi-millionaire by the critically acclaimed “The Godfather” trilogy, dared to invest his own savings for a logistically monstrous film about the Vietnam War that would be shot in the Philippines.
Coppola almost went bankrupt or had a nervous breakdown after going through several frustrations in the course of filming done for more than two years in Luzon, according to “Hearts of Darkness,” the documentary of the making shot by his wife Eleanor.
First, the U.S. military refused to cooperate with him, perhaps sensing that the film would only add insult to injury left by their recent defeat in the Vietnam War. So Coppola ended up negotiating with President Ferdinand Marcos, offering millions of dollars for rental of military equipment that would be used in the film and salaries for soldiers, workers, and extras hired for assorted roles in the film production.