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In 1979 Vittorio Storaro was awarded the Oscar in Cinematography for Francis Ford Coppolas epic Vietnam War movie Apocalypse Now In this film Col Walter E Kurtz Marlon Brando is a high-ranking Green Beret who gets a few wires crossed in his head and declares himself a God among a group of Cambodian tribesmen Captain Willard Martin Sheen is then sent on a mission to assassinate him with extreme prejudice In the novel by Joseph Conrad which this film is based on we are introduced to what the author refers to as The Heart of Darkness The lighting in this film creates a realistic manifestation of the Heart of Darkness by using the extreme absence of light as its avatar The most poignant scenes where lighting is used to give the audience an impression of evil is also our first glance of the Madman himself Throughout the course of this film we come to know the background of Col Kurtz and learn exactly what his views are on the Vietnam War While he makes sense with his prophetic ramblings it is questionable to determine if he is actually as insane as we are led to believe With no key light used and an orange fill light shining across his face and outlining his body he leans in and out of the light during his dialogue with Capt Willard Francis Ford Coppola was quoted as saying He used the light like a prop we saw a little of him then he pulled it in so theres sort of a method to his madness With the lack of light and his skin cast in complete shadows we can easily determine that there is an internal conflict within Kurtz and that the Heart of Darkness has clearly affected him in some way Another scene where the lack of lighting is used effectively is during the Do Lung Bridge chapter of the film During this scene Capt Willard and
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