malayang’s review published on Letterboxd:
Ever watch a movie and the sound of the gongs started to sound familiar to you?
Went into the film knowing it was filmed in the Philippines - so that’s what I’m gonna focus on!
Because it’s a good movie, and other people have already raved about it. I can’t wait to check out Redux and the Director’s Cut.
I’ve excitedly gone into a deep dive on what the production was like for this film in relation to its location.
So I don’t forget - it made sense when I heard that Philippines was the place. Confirmed now when I’ve looked up how Coppola had met with President Marcos who kept strong military ties with America, which means that they were given access to helicopters and the military pretty easily.
The gongs were indeed all too familiar - the indigenous tribe performing rituals towards the end of the movie were Ifugao, a province right next to Benguet, which is where I was born!
I’m looking forward to checking out the documentary and learn more about what happened with this movie and it’s relation to Philippine film history and politics.
I’ll end with this super true quote from this article: 'Apocalypse Now' still resonates in today's Manila
For Coppola, the Philippines was a cheap stand-in for Vietnam. Where else could he rent an army, build and destroy whole villages and enlist thousands of extras for pennies a day?