‘Notes on a Life’ by Eleanor Coppola


"Notes on the Making of 'Apocalypse Now,' " Eleanor Coppola's 1979 production diary of husband Francis' audacious, flawed film released that year, remains one of the best accounts ever written of the insane difficulties involved in shooting a big-budget movie on location. Nearly 30 years later, she brings the same scrupulous honesty and lucid, thoughtful prose to her memoir "Notes on a Life."

Ranging episodically over several decades, Coppola offers a poignant self-portrait of middle age -- she's just turned 50 as her text begins in 1986 -- thinking about the choices she's made. "I am an observer at heart," she writes, and we see her mingled admiration and envy of those who fling themselves into action. Francis and daughter Sofia direct movies while Eleanor shoots "making of" documentaries about them.

(LA Times)

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