At the NaFilM exhibit at the Museum Montanelli in Prague I was struck by a display of wine of various kinds from Francis Ford Coppola in his capacity as grape grower and vintner: there was the Claret and the Pinot Grigio, the ‘Director’s Cut’ Cabernet Sauvignon, and the ‘Sofia’ Chardonnay. All for sale and all with ten per cent of the proceeds going to NaFilM in aid of the project to found a National Film Museum in the Czech Republic.
Earlier in the month, excited students at EICTV, the Film and Television School of ‘All the Worlds’, based in San Antonio de los Baños in Cuba, informed me that Coppola had arrived with cases and cases of pasta, tomato sauce and wine. He’d cooked them a meal, eaten it with them, shared his knowledge and answered their questions. EICTV is often ranked one of the top film schools and I personally have never found it less than inspiring. But it is undergoing financial difficulties at the moment and Coppola’s visit gave everyone there a boost, particularly since it consisted of giving AND receiving, of sharing, of various kinds of communing.
These two experiences to me indicate not only a praiseworthy philanthropy or an admirable degree of personal kindness but an on-going engagement and concern with film in all its aspects that one can trace pre film school at UCLA and post the various industrial and technological experimentation at Zoetrope. Moreover it’s a cinephilic desire to cultivate the culture of cinema that includes but – as I personally have witnessed – also extends beyond the borders of his own country. I tip my hat off to him.