Tuesday, October 25, 2016

165. Apocalypse Child

I once had a dinner with a film merchant who was responsible for bringing the world the old film, "The Last Emperor." And he told us, if you're making a film, you have to  answer the question, "What are you really selling?" And after watching the film, "Apocalypse Child", I can't help but second guess what the film makers might answer. 

There are three love scenes here: one as the film opens, another as the film hits a turning point, and the third, close to the end. But this is not porn. These love scenes would take you to the whole spectrum of emotions from excitement to moral indignation to outright disgust -- at least that's where they took me. The love scenes are not going to cater to  "prurient interest" as the American legalese for porn would put it, but they are going to badger people's  mind for answers for the rest of their lives-- (SPOILER ALERT) Can you get away with sleeping with your best friend's fiancee? Can you get away with  sleeping with your best friend's mom? Maybe we should turn the questions around. Can you get away with sleeping with your fiance's best friend? Can you get away with sleeping with your child's best friend? 

These things happen  -- and I'm still deciding whether I'd be lucky or cursed if it happened to me.  Ford is  a hot male who teaches surfing in sunny Baler, Aurora. He has this sexy girlfriend, smitten, conquered, and happy to be his playmate. But his boyhood friend comes home, now a congressman about to be married to this beautiful lady, who confesses that she had a child at fourteen like Ford's mom who had him at the same age. The beautiful lady knows Ford's story about being the rumored child of Francis Ford Coppola, who stayed for a long time in Baler shooting Apocalypse Now,  and she says she wants to learn to surf. That's fine, Ford says, he won't charge. And she tells Ford that her fiance  has predicted that she and Ford will end up sleeping together. Ford deflects it with a joke -- That's fine too, Ford won't charge. But already the bar is set, how does Ford  teach surfing to this beautiful lady without ending up in bed with her? What a fine mess these kids are going to make. 

This film has the sensibility of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. The narrative is smooth, some funny lines here and there, almost plotless, the conflict happening in the characters' inner lives, and it leaves you wounded for the rest of your life. Not everyone would be ready for this; but surely, at some point in their lives, people should watch this film. 

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