Robert The Filmhead’s review published on Letterboxd:
I haven’t watched this film recently, but I found out yesterday that Criterion’s release of this film is out of print. Luckily, I own a copy, but I’d like to share some thoughts on Malick since he is my favorite director.
- I’ve been reading a lot of Andre Bazin lately, and I’ve been trying to reconcile my agreement with his theories with my love for Malick’s films since Malick is clearly not a director that strives for realism through mise-en-scene, however, I would argue that Malick is possibly the most realistic of directors in the way he strives for a psychological realism. This of course requires a perspective which Bazin argues was a sin in art, but looking at Malick’s films, it becomes clear that he isn’t striving for a psychological realism of a singular perspective, but rather that of a collective psychological experience between a collection of individuals. In Days of Heaven, this is seen in the mixture of perspectives between the four main charactera which clearly transcends any singular individual to create a tapestry of perspectives that create the singular experience of the film. The same could be said with all his films.
- Also, it is important to note that Malick works with the most stylistically realistic cinematographers. Cinematographers that blend their style into the seems of reality flawlessly!
- Also, it’s no coincidence that Linklater, the director who uses time in the most realistic way in his films, and Malick are such good friends
- The second thing I’d like to explore is the purpose of this tapestry of perspectives. To solve this question, it is important to note Malick’s letter to Scorsese where he asked him, “What does Jesus want with us?” Pushing this further, the point of Malick’s tapestry of perspectives functions effectively to understand God and discover the purpose of life. Malick recognizes the director as God of a film, and he uses this to understand God by attempting to take on His perspective in film which also explains Makick’s reliance on God while making a film which comes through in his improvisation. It is no coincidence that his most religious films are his most improvisational. And, this is what he learned while making Days of Heaven.
- The last thing I want to say is that Malick is my favorite director because while Charlie Chaplin makes the best version of the films that I can hope to achieve due to my desire to control everything on a film, Malick makes the films that I wish I could make.