On the murky brown river that runs from Pagsanjan Falls in the Philippines there is a particular bend. Every few minutes, boatloads of tourists paddle noisily by in plastic canoes, but no one takes any notice of this spot, and it’s not hard to see why. There is nothing here but a small tourist office, a few grimy resort villas and a stray yellow dog stretching in the sun.
You’d be excused for thinking the most exciting thing ever to happen here would be the rancour of disappointed package holidaymakers demanding their money back. But you’d be wrong. Rewind about 30 years and this unremarkable river bend was the centre of the cinematic world, engulfed in the explosive, sky-scorching finale of one of the most expensive, traumatic and spectacular film productions ever attempted.
Many of the Filipino’s involved with the making of “Apocalypse now” saw the making of the movie no different than the Vietnam War in that Coppola took an occupying force, also known as a film crew, and used the land and people for his own personal agenda. Since 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the filming of “Apocalypse Now,” we decided it was the right time to go back to the Phillipines and discover through the folks that lived the experience, what it was like to be a Filipino on the 14 month production.
The rumored growth of the sex trade in Pagsanjan due to prostitutes employed by the film’s crew. The birth of the Filipino surf culture that developed out of the filming of the “Charlie’s Point,” scene. The “Apocalypse Curse,” leveled upon the filmmakers due to rumors that real dead bodies were used in certain scenes, and the crew hired grave robbers to provide these bodies.
We have all seen “Apocalypse Now,” now we will see what happened “After the Apocalypse”.
A September Club Production
Director: Manny Marquez
Producer: Barry Poltermann