Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven ★★★★★

It’s hard to tell where people end, and the earth begins in Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven.” 

Faces shred into husks of wheat, and bodies fold into the horizon of the plains like clouds in a sunset. 

They’re fitting dissolutions of physicality, since in “Heaven,” nature is indifferent to the struggles of man. 

As in many Malick works, the plot of “Heaven” is not particularly thought through - or important. It begins in a fight and ends in a war, but it’s easy to forget both those points, when swept away by the beauty in between them. 

And nature doesn’t seem to particularly have interest either; bringing plagues and profits to “Heaven” without regard to their effect on men. All that matters is that time continues to pass, the seasons continue to change, the world moves forward. 

It reflects even Malick’s struggle to craft “Heaven;” out of hundreds of hours of sparsely interlinked footage, shot over two years. His battle to capture the fleeting moments of each day’s perfect light; admirable, but Quixotic. As always - he went back to a post-shoot voiceover to link the events of “Heaven” together. 

But what a voiceover. Linda Manz recites her narration with the resounding tones of the earth, and the feisty spirit of humanity. It becomes a poem distinctly of this world, but one that feels it could dissolve into another at any moment - maybe, a world like Heaven.

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