This is a fascinating documentary and a fitting footnote to Coppola's mesmerising Apocalypse Now - still the most ambitious (and possibly the greatest) war movie ever made, flawed though it may be in parts.
Hearts Of Darkness - which takes its name from the Joseph Conrad novella on which AN is loosely based - is the story of the making of the film, shot on a handheld VCR by the director's wife Eleanor. It's an honest and uncompromising visual diary, showing her husband's many frustrations and crises on location in the Philippines - think devastating hurricanes, leading actor having a heart attack, helicopters requisitioned to fight a civil war, etc etc. And as if all those problems weren't enough Coppola then had to deal with a massively overweight Marlon Brando turning up for his $1m cameo appearance, towards the end of shooting, not knowing his lines and threatening to quit on the spot if the camera showed his enormous girth!
All the interviews and anecdotes are highly absorbing, especially those with scriptwriter John Milius, Martin Sheen and Coppola himself, whose closing monologue, recorded over 30 years ago, is still just as profound and relevant today. Also of interest is the famous 'plantation scene', edited out of the final cut of AN at the last minute although included in the later (inferior) 'Redux' edition. But perhaps the most dramatic moments are of Coppola on the phone to Hollywood, desperately trying to keep the lid on Sheen's heart attack so that his studio doesn't pull the plug on the whole shebang.
Spellbinding stuff - very possibly the best documentary ever made about the process of film-making and a pure inspiration to anybody who has a goal and wants to find the drive/determination to make it come to fruition, no matter what the obstacles.