This week, I heard a radio presenter telling listeners to stay tuned for their resident film reviewer's feature 'The Films that Made Me' (it was probably called 'the movies that made me' but since when do we call films movies in these parts?). Whilst thinking 'Nah, I hate all that shit', I was simultaneously reminded of Apocalypse Now, which I had watched a large part of the previous night. I say a large part because someone had put the redux version on and - though I love it - there aren't enough hours in my life for that on a weeknight.
I thought, actually, you could say Apocalypse Now made me. A long time ago, I had to write an essay about a film for my A Level Media Studies course and my dad had taped it off the telly, so I used that. I sat there for hours, stopping and rewinding bits (VHS nostalgia) and making notes. What I was writing was probably basic stuff, but it was new to me and it was where my interest in textual analysis started.
Amazingly considering it was a randomly chosen film, I loved it. The darkness of it, the claustrophobic feel, the sheer depravity of war. The portrayal of the conditions, the madness that some soldiers were descending into, being left to fend for themselves in the jungle...the sweaty, humid and bloody horror of it all. The insight into the hopelessness, yet huge effort, of the Vietnam War. I was already a fan of The Doors so found the soundtrack particularly evocative. Of course, they chose exactly the right song. I remarked to my dad later on, *adopts chin stroking thoughtful, know it all voice* "powerful film, very powerful". Cringe.
I think I can say this film, or at least the time of my life that I watched it, heralded the start of my love for films, especially disturbing and hard hitting films. So while it didn't actually make me, it was hugely influential.
By the way, I put a lot of work into that essay, in advance of the deadline. Then it was casually mentioned in class that the assignment was being changed. When I expressed my distress at this as I'd already written it (obvs no-one else had) I was told to stop taking it so seriously by some twat called Ezekial. I will always remember his name. And his size. He was massive.