Scen.: Baris Azman. Mus.: Julian Edwardes. F.: Richard Spierings. Int.: Chas Gerretsen, Jan de Vries, Züleyha Azman, Baris Azman, Martijn van den Broek. Prod.: Züleyha Azman, Baris Azman per KINO Rotterdam, Nederlands Fotomuseum. DCP. D.: 40’. Col.
Early in the year that Apocalypse Now celebrates its 40th anniversary, Rotterdam-based cinema KINO Rotterdam and the Nederlands Fotomuseum joined forces to unearth the long-dormant archive of Dutch photographer Charles ‘Chas’ Gerretsen. In the 1970s, Gerretsen suddenly became world famous, even though his oeuvre was still small. In 1973, he took his most well-known and published photo, of Chilean dictator General Pinochet. With this photo and other ones taken before, during, and after the Chilean coup that led to President Salvador Allende’s death, he won the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award in 1974. Gerretsen started travelling at a young age and continued to do so throughout his life. Between 1965 and 1972, he lived in south-east Asia and worked there as a war photographer in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. In 1975, he moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a photographer for various film companies until 1989. Gerretsen was asked in 1976 by director Francis Ford Coppola to capture everything on the set of his new film.
Most of his work on the set of Apocalypse Now has never been seen before. This documentary tells the story of Gerretsen himself, while at the same time exhibiting his haunting and visceral work on the film set that provides a fresh new angle on what is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made. The documentary contains an in-depth interview with Gerretsen and more than 150 pictures of the stellar cast. It even features characters and even some scenes that did not make it to the final cut.
Gian Luca Farinelli