Over at The Film Talk, my genial co-host and I have posted a fascinating conversation with Francis Ford Coppola – who, at the age of 70, with ‘Tetro’ considers himself to have entered what he calls the ‘second phase’ of his career. To have a first phase; or a second phase, or indeed any phase to a career might be enough for me – but talking to Coppola this morning ended up being more than a conversation about publicising his new film (although you really should do yourself a favour and go see it: it’s gorgeous, moving and thoughtful), turning into a dialogue about the film-making process itself, Coppola’s vision for what cinema can be, and what you or I should do if we want to make movies.
The real pleasure of the interview was rooted in a sense that Coppola is humble enough to see himself still as being a student of the art he’s working in. This guy may have made ‘The Conversation’ and ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘One from the Heart’, but he knows he’s still got a lot to learn; and is learning it while seeking to live a full life, at a time when many of us might be wanting to take it easy. He wants to tell stories that have some depth – ‘Tetro’ is about family secrets and the process of growing up (like all of his films – in which men usually give something up for the sake of what they assume to be their family’s best interests – think of Michael Corleone’s integrity in ‘The Godfather’, Martin Sheen’s morality in ‘Apocalypse Now’, Dracula’s centuries-old self-protection, Gene Hackman’s sanity in ‘The Conversation’). I’m grateful he took the time to talk to us; and you can listen to the show here.