My Quiet Life My Quiet Life

Redux, Redux and Redux

Last weekend Chris and I watched the 202 minute director’s cut of Apocalypse Now. I had never seen it before, and although a little slow in places, it reaffirmed my unabashed love of the “white man goes crazy in the jungle” movie. Granted, I can only think of two other examples this one and thata one (I’m pretty sure no one can play crazy like Klaus Kinski) but I enjoyed the Hell out of both of those movies.

My love of this motif is not limited only to film. Oh no. Rushdie sends four (okay, not white) men down a river and through a psychotropic freak out jungle in the chapter “In the Sundarbans” from Midnight’s Children.

So what is it about jungles? Why are jungles this literary shorthand for “some fucked up shit is about to go down now dude”?

Apparently Apocalypse Now is based on* Heart of Darkness, a book that is, apparently, about a white man who goes crazy in the jungle. Now, I love to read, but I wasn’t an English major. As such, I don’t feel I have a real comprehensive background in or of *Literature, you know: the landmarks. The books that are the genesis of symbols and allusions that work their way through all the writing that has followed. I have the feeling that the Heart of Darkness is one of these sorts of books. Arundhati Roy refers to the abandoned European mansion as the “heart of darkness” in the God of Small Things. I have an inkling all these damn jungle references might point back there as well.

So, you are thinking: “Read the god damn book!” Well I’ve started. I picked up it awhile ago for 75 cents at Mega Used Book Store on 8th ave. I put on hold the book I was reading in the interest of maybe making some sort of genuine connections between these movies and books that I enjoyed but never thought about the ways in which they were related.

I have already learned that thinking “Pfft, 90 pages, no sweat, I’ll finish this tonight” wasn’t accounting for sentences that go like this:

There was a touch of insanity in the proceedings, a sense of lugubrious drollery in the sight; and it was not dissipated by somebody on board assuring me earnestly there was a camp of natives - he called them enemies! - hidden out of sight somewhere.

Is this the language in literature of the early 1900s or the language of a man who didn’t learn English until an adult and then took it deadly fucking serious? My point is, it is not a quick read.

So in conclusion:

  1. What other white man goes crazy in the jungle movies might I enjoy?

The rest of that stuff was just me thinking out loud. Sorry dudes.