Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Francis Ford Coppola Announces That His Next Film May Be His Last

Francis Ford Coppola
Depending on your personal stance, director Francis Ford Coppola created some of the best cinema arguably ever. Among his many achievements includes the indomitable classics such as The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now. His achievements not only impacted cinema, but changed the way that many saw the medium. In a recent interview as part of the Marrakech International Film Festival, he gave some big news regarding his career and the work of one of his former collaborators George Lucas. What he said may not be life changing, but definitely will come as a surprise for long term fans of the director.

Coppola is a director who famously takes risks on every film he has done. With The Godfather, it started as just another gig before evolving into its final being. There's the disasters of Apocalypse Now; of which were chronicled in Hearts of Darkness. Even in his more recent years, he's experimented with technique and approach. His latest film Twixt appeared at Comic Con with the revolutionary idea to have the scenes edited together as the audience watched. The idea clearly didn't take off, but it showed that even decades later, he was still willing to try something new.

When asked about the state of cinema and its future, he claimed that:
“Someone recently asked me, ‘Is there a future for cinema?’. Of course there is. The films your grandchildren will be watching and making, you can’t even imagine what they will be like."
Among the filmmakers of recent years that he likes includes Sarah Polley, specifically citing Stories We Tell as a prime example of innovative cinema. He believes that without risks, there's nothing interesting about cinema and that otherwise it's just big movies imitating big movies.

The director continued to discuss what will likely be the biggest takeaway from his interview. He discussed at length his personal desires for his next film, tentatively titled Distant Vision, which he also claims may very well be his last:
"I may only make one film more in my life, but it may be very long, and it may go in different places. It’s sort of like [Thomas Mann's] 'Buddenbrooks' because it’s about three generations of a family.
It happens during the birth of television; the growth and omnipresence of television and finally the end of television as it turns into the internet. Then I decided that I wanted to do it as live television.”
He continues by suggesting that it will be “very different from a normal film."

Finally, Coppola addressed the work of his personal friend George Lucas. While he is best known for creating Star Wars, he was also influential in starting Coppola's American Zoetrope company and even financing Lucas' debut American Graffiti. It is likely with his fantasy franchise's latest entry The Force Awakens opening next week that he's getting lots of press about what Lucas thinks (spoiler alert: he likes it). However, Coppola has a different kind of remorse for his chum, claiming that:
“I think Star Wars, it’s a pity, because George Lucas was a very experimental crazy guy and he got lost in this big production and never got out of it.
I still hope that he made so much money out of it that he will just make some little movies. He promises me that he will.”
While I am personally not a fan of Star Wars, I share Coppola's general sentiments regarding Lucas, who I feel whose career was totally ruined by that film's success. I feel like he has unfairly been pigeonholed as "The Star Wars guy," and hasn't been given a chance to make anything interesting outside of that realm. It's a certain guilt that makes me hope that Coppola's final sentiment is true and that Lucas at least tries to do something crazy and experimental during the last stretch of his career. It definitely would be more interesting than ending a career on selling the Star Wars rights to Disney. 

Even though I haven't seen much of Coppola's latter day works, it makes me hope that he goes out on a high note. I definitely am one who holds his great films as being something above sublime (yes, even the not-as-good-but-still-good The Godfather Part III). If nothing else, it provides incentive for me to finally fill in the holes and see those movies that I have been skimping on. His work has definitely changed cinema for the better, and I feel like he, more than most, deserves to end his career on a defined note.

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