At the ripe age of 70, director Francis Ford Coppola considers himself to be at the start of a new career as a filmmaker. Sure, the guy made the first two Godfather movies, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now in the ’70s; achievements that most directors would consider the bedrock of a career.
But for Coppola those films represent the past. He’s just getting started.
“I think Tetro is the second film of my second career following Youth Without Youth,” claims Coppola. “What makes these films different is that, starting with Tetro, they will all be based on original screenplays. They’ll be self-financed, which changes them a lot. But most importantly, they’ll be of a personal nature, meaning that they’re movies I’ll make out of the love of wanting to make that movie rather than getting paid for it.”
In the decade away from directing films following 1997’s The Rainmaker, Coppola dedicated much of his time to starting a wine label and a hotel chain, investments that have earned him enough money to finance his own movies outside of Hollywood.
With his newfound freedom, Coppola has created Tetro, a small but gorgeous film about the tumultuous relationship between two long-separated brothers. The story is filmed in beautiful black and white cinematography that has sadly disappeared these days because it’s considered commercial death.
“In my case I didn’t make this film to make money anyways, so I just went ahead,” quips Coppola.
In short, Tetro is a personal art film that feels like it was found in a time capsule from the ’60s and exactly the type of movie that Francis Ford Coppola has been trying to make his entire career.
“In my early career I always hoped that I could make a lot of money with bigger movies and then use that to make more personal films. That was always my intention, so the only irony here is that I made the money in the hotel and wine business and not the film business,” recalls Coppola.
• Tetro opens in theatres Friday.
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