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Appropriation: Heart Of Darkness Apocalypse Now

1943 words - 8 pages

When Joseph Conrad set out to write his novella about the physical and psychological experiences traveling to the heart of the African continent in "Heart of Darkness", he never would have imagined that some eighty years latter, a young Francis Ford Coppola would set the cinematic world on fire. His appropriation of Conrad's text, whilst fundamentally similar, would take on a completely new form, as an expose into the madness of the Vietnam War. The texts share thematic, narrative and character based connections but differ greatly on setting, techniques and context. However minor or major the appropriation, both texts have stood the test of time and remain fine examples of their genre."Heart of Darkness" was originally conceived in 1898, and was based heavily upon his own experiences as a steamboat captain in the Congo in 1890. The world during the late 1800's had seen most of the known world at least partially under British or European control. It was a time of social revolution; the period is now viewed as a bridge between Victorian Times and the new wave of modernism. Women had not received a semblance of equality and the notion of women's suffrage was far from their minds. Tension existed between the colonial powers, especially in the Congo, where numerous countries battled to assert domination over the African continent and exploit its resources, especially ivory. It is into this context that "Heart of Darkness" was born.In the novella, the female role is of a traditional nature. Female characters occupy domestic roles and hold up the morality of the age, leaving the men free to fully explore the scope and range of themes and ideals present in the novel. Conrad also structured the novella in such a way that British readers would not be isolated by viewing an image of themselves reflected in "Heart of Darkness". By having Marlow's employers as a Belgian Organisation, Conrad could show the hypocrisy and madness of European and especially English colonial policy without alienating readers. In this way, the evils of Imperialism could be portrayed in an offhand manner."Apocalypse Now" directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, takes the themes and basic story line of "Heart of Darkness" but changes the political, social, cultural and historical context of the text, providing a fresh interpretation of a classic story. When production began on "Apocalypse Now", it was the first major film made in response to the Vietnam War. Due to numerable production hold ups, many quality Vietnam Films (such as "The Deer Hunter") had already been released portraying the evils of Vietnam before the films release in 1979. The film however was an astounding success. Using surreal and symbolic sequences, the film captured an all together original perspective never before explored on film, the psychological "madness" of the Vietnam War.Riding a wave of anti-Vietnam sentiment that had swept America towards the end of the war and which saw public riot and protest,...

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