We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
The Godfather: Part III has always been the Fredo of Francis Ford Coppola’s operatic trilogy. Whereas the direct, bloody tone of the first installment suits Sonny Corleone’s guns-blazing style, and the follow-up—with its multiple story lines and constantly shifting alliances—is more akin to Michael’s calculating personality, the series’ flawed-from-the-beginning final film is the one everyone in the family wishes would just go away. Sure, The Godfather: Part III probably thinks it’s smart and deserves some respect, but—whether it’s the way the film wants it or not—it’s getting passed over once again. The American Film Institute’s “Francis Ford Coppola Redux” retrospective won’t feature Al Pacino’s spiky, early ’90s hairdo or Sofia Coppola’s painful monotone, but—in addition to featuring the first two Godfathers—it will include a handful of the director’s most notable films. Made between the first two Godfather films, Coppola’s 1974 psychological thriller The Conversation stars Gene Hackman as a surveillance expert who comes to suspect that the young couple he’s been hired to spy on will be murdered; although it didn’t attain the same commercial success as the Godfather flicks, Coppola’s scaled-down study of the invasion of privacy was made all the more timely by the Watergate scandal. For his 1979 Vietnam film, Apocalypse Now, Coppola offered Marlon Brando a role he couldn’t refuse: an insane Green Beret who’s gone AWOL and becomes the target of a military-sanctioned assassination. Being murdered by your own government probably isn’t the best way to go out, but it definitely beats being shot in the back of the head by your mob-boss-brother’s henchman while fishing at the family estate. See Showtimes for details; visit afi.com/silver/new/ for a complete schedule. The films show at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.25. (301) 495-6700. (Matthew Borlik)