Coppola's "Tetro"

I love the cinematography and look of this film so far, and the posters are beautiful as well. There's three I've found (via Awards Daily), but the one included here is my favorite - evocative use of color in those light flares and the situating of the text (and the choice of font itself) atop the shot of Vincent Gallo and his brother would make for a perfect Criterion Collection cover. Slap on a "Director Approved" sticker and the neat letter-c logo and you're set. I'd buy that. Well, if the movie turns out, then I'd buy it. This is the first Francis Ford Coppola's written personally since "The Conversation" so hopefully that bodes well for the picture as a whole. (Criterion doesn't currently have any Coppola films in their collection, but I'd say this and "The Conversation" could surely, fittingly, get the ...ahem, conversation started.) The film's formula looks astoundingly fine on paper: Greek tragedy-like story involving an Italian musician father + Osvaldo Golijov to provide sweeping music on that front, whose score sounds at least ten steps away from a Nino Rota composition + immigrant family struggles, a la "The Godfather" + achingly beautiful Spain + Maribel Verdu to romance us as the girlfriend + Vincent Gallo under the direction of Coppola (the name of the game is restraint, Mr. Gallo) + Pedro Almodovar vet Carmen Maura in a mentor-role to play opposite Gallo = Cannes/Oscar glory? One can dream.

I've always thought that the circumstances that perpetually surround Coppola have been what has made his output drop - those expectations that he will conjure up another film-opera of dramatic grandeur like "Godfather" are hard to work with/through/around. He is actively trying to survive what George Lucas aggressively seeks to sustain. That past glory. Coppola, like Lucas, is a dynamic director and his projects ("The Conversation," "Apocalypse Now," "Bram Stoker's Dracula," even "The Outsiders") reveal latent idiosyncracies that were either too transparent, rudimentary or non-existent "Godfather"-era and they show his inclination to refashion his style with every picture. ("Dracula" strikes me as his most different project, but they all possess something unique from the others.) That's why so many people feel that the new "Star Wars" trilogy didn't work - Lucas is a different filmmaker with a different economy but the material and its fans demanded consistency, continuity. Coppola's fans work the same way. Of the "Film School Generation" the only one who's been allowed to carve out new territories is Steven Spielberg, whose projects combine the economy of an indepedent film (even titans like "Munich" and "Minority Report" took only a couple weeks to actually shoot) with the resources of typical Hollywood. I'd go as far as to say that while Spielberg has fashioned some real marvels, Coppola is the real technical genius, Spielberg just knows people and knows how to make them shine.

Here's hoping that Coppola finds himself even further revived with "Tetro" after the lukewarm reception "Youth Without Youth" received. He once said that he's only been able to make movies again (this was around the time "Youth" was in production) because he was inspired by the advances his daughter, Sofia, has been able to make with limited budgets that was the norm back during the New Hollywood days ("Easy Rider," "Bonnie & Clyde," etc.). Coppola's a step away from that generation, so it'll be exciting to see how he handles old sensibilities in new environments.

If you'd like to see the first three minutes of "Tetro," take a trip to Kris Tapley's In Contention site which has a nice embedded video. I've gone on for too long, and I don't want to clutter this post up even further. Tapley's also got some great info from Coppola on what his literary and cinematic inspirations were for this film.

Is Coppola making an offer you can't refuse?

TRAILER from: In Contention
POSTER from: Awards Daily

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