Friday, May 24, 2024
Home Culture Eleanor Coppola, documentary filmmaker, wife of Francis Ford Coppola and matriarch of a film saga, dies | Culture

Eleanor Coppola, documentary filmmaker, wife of Francis Ford Coppola and matriarch of a film saga, dies | Culture

by News Room
0 comment

Eleanor Coppola, acclaimed documentary filmmaker, as well as wife and mother of big names in world cinematography, died this Friday, April 12, at her home in Rutherford, a small town among the vineyards of Napa, northern California, surrounded by her family. . She was 87 years old. It was her family who announced the news to the Associated Press agency, without citing the causes of her death.

Coppola had been ill for some time; At the beginning of last October, her daughter Sofia missed the New York premiere of her latest film, Priscilla, a portrait of Elvis Presley’s wife. She then decided to stay by her mother’s side, to whom the film was dedicated, as she explained in a statement.

She always said that her family was the center of her life, but beyond being the wife of the great master Francis Ford Coppola (director of the saga of The Godfather and winner of five Oscars) and Sofia’s mother, also a director; from Roman, director and producer; and the late actor and producer Gian-Carlo, Eleanor Coppola developed her own interesting career in the world of cinema. In the late seventies Francis Ford recorded Apocalypse Now in the Philippines, in which it became a hellish, extremely complicated shoot, with weather problems, health problems for the crew (with 900 people working) and for which the director even had to mortgage his house. Eleanor (one of the two women present on the set, as she once said) then accompanied him and documented the process, recording everything. In 1991 he transformed that material from what was already a cult film and winner of eight Oscars into an hour and a half documentary, Hearts in darkness. This magnificent portrait of the difficulties of the world of cinema earned numerous nominations in the awards season and won two Emmys.

“The first idea of ​​recording was to document the filming of Apocalypse Now“, he said in the middle Deadline in an interview in 2017. “I had no idea, I had made some arthouse films in the seventies, but when I got a camera in the Philippines I was mesmerized, looking at everything through the viewfinder. In the end I gave an answer to that, so I made several documentaries, because I have always liked filming,” she said. After that, she recorded a short film about China and a couple of making ofof The virgin suicides y Marie Antoinette. In 2016 she made her debut in fiction, with Paris can wait, a romantic film with Diane Lane (“She has the ability for women to identify with her,” she told this newspaper in 2017) and Alec Baldwin. Premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, for her it was inspired by a trip she took with her husband to Paris from Cannes in 2009, where he presented Gloomy. In 2020 he directed Love is Love is Lovewhich passed through the rooms discreetly.

Francis Ford Coppola and Eleanor Coppola, as they walk the red carpet at the Oscars, at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California, on March 27, 2022.Javier Rojas (EFE)

Also in 2009 Coppola released his autobiographical book Notes on a life (Editorial Circe), in which he reviewed some of his life adventures and misadventures. “It has been difficult for me to find balance. Now I enjoy it,” he said then in an interview with EL PAÍS during a lunch in Madrid, where he politely asked to be able to eat Spanish cuisine. “I belong to a generation of women that didn’t even think about hiring nannies,” she explained. “We interrupted our careers to take care of the family, while the husband was away from home, carrying out his work. I don’t regret it, but a little more time for myself would have been good.”

A Californian from the cradle (she was born in wealthy Orange County, a coastal area south of Los Angeles), Eleanor Jessie Neil studied at the prestigious UCLA in the 1950s, where she graduated in Design. She began to work in the world of cinema and in 1962, while filming Dementia 13, which was Francis Ford Coppola’s directorial debut, she met the man who became her husband a few months later. She married in Las Vegas in February 1963, upon learning that she was pregnant with her eldest son, Gian-Carlo. He would die in a boat accident in 1986, when she was barely 22 years old; His girlfriend was then pregnant with whom she became the Coppola’s first granddaughter, Gia, now also a director. “You can’t use pain as a shield. We must celebrate her memory, her presence among us,” she told this newspaper in 2009 during her talk. In 1965 her second son, Roman, was born, and in 1971 her youngest, Sofia, who also gave her two granddaughters.

For her, the key to her marriage with the director was one: “Not getting divorced,” she acknowledged in this newspaper, half jokingly, half seriously, seven years ago. And also surround yourself with family. “We like to cook together. Often Francis takes care of the main course and I make salads and vegetables. Our children are good cooks too. We like to meet around a table, we have a garden and it is a pleasure to collect the ingredients and prepare the dishes together. I believe that cooking is a foundation for family and culture.”

Leave a Comment