Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola was born on April 7th 1939 in Detroit, Michigan (United States). Son of a composeur and an actress, Francis Ford grows up in New York and then studies cinema at UCLA. He first writes scenarios and in 1969, he founds an independant production company American Zoetrope. Their first movie will be Georges Lucas' THX 1138. It's with Godfather in 1972 that Francis Ford Coppola wins the respect of his peers (and an Oscar). He will then direct many other great movies that have enriched the American cinema like Godfather - part II (1974) Apocalypse Now (1979) or Dracula (1992). In Europe too, he will be recognized as a great director, since he wins twice the Palmes d'Or in Cannes for The conversation and Apocalypse Now. He is now working on a new film, a science-fiction project “on Utopia, much more ambitious than Apocalypse Now : Megalopolis”.

Francis Ford Coppola is typically a hated child of Hollywood, obliged work in the “system”, he switches from command films to personal films, he produces popular films for better producing independent films.

Francis Ford Coppola dans les films d'Emir Kusturica

Godfather - part II in particular, but other films of Coppola in general are visual references for Emir Kusturica. We find homages in different forms :

  • The imagery in the Godfather trilogy has strongly marked the student Emir Kusturica in Prague, and according to Andrew Norton, American journalist, Time of the gypsies would even be a remake of Godfather I & II ! Beyond the physical resemblance between Perhan (Davor Dujmović) / Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and Ahmed (Bora Todorović) / Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the similar topics are numerous (the transition from the godfather to his unwilling successor, rise and fall of a Mafia “family”)

  • We see in Arizona Dream a scene of Godfather - part II that Paul watches on TV during Elaine's birthday. Clearly, Paul knows it by heart and he “lives” it more than he acts it.
  • The attack of an helicopter by Blacky on the beach in Underground a direct homage to Apocalypse Now.


So many clues… but yet ! there is someone who contests the admiration that Emir Kusturica shows to Francis Ford Coppola. It is noone else than Vincent Gallo himself. He has declared in an interview :

The scene in Arizona Dream where I parody “The Godfather” wasn't written in the script. Certainly not the use of the animal and certainly not using “The Godfather.” I kind of improvised both those things. The director, Emir Kusturica, is not a giant film fan so he didn't really get involved in the choices of which movies we were going to parody or use for those scenes. I have to be quite honest and tell you that a lot of it had to do with what was available to be used, so that limited my choices. What would happen is I would pick a movie and right at the last minute I'd have to change my choice based on what was available to get the rights to. So the scene using “The Godfather” was decided a day before we shot the scene.

Of course I'd seen the film several times but I'm not a fan of DeNiro or Pacino. I'm not one of those guys who quote from “The Godfather.” I'm certainly a fan of movies, no doubt about it, no denying it. Certainly I liked “The Godfather” - but I'm not an actor who's in love with DeNiro. I got so good by that point at watching a movie and being able to mimic a film that I watched that scene over and over for 15 minutes and I could do it that way that I did it in the movie. So I just was in the habit of being quick to be able to do that.

The complete interview of Vincent Gallo :

Should we see in this declaration a denial on the points mentioned above ? Or a narcissistic attempt from Vincent Gallo to steal the paternity of one of the best scenes of the film ?

Even if both men share the private club of the winners of two Golden Palms at the Cannes Film Festival, the admiration is not reciprocal. See the meeting in images.

Selective filmography

en/francis_ford_coppola.txt · Last modified: 2008/02/13 13:02 by matthieu1