Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven ★★★★★

Truly a strange movie, no one ever really talks about that; how, even for a film from the late 70's, this is an impossibly ephemeral affair, where scenes are constantly fleeting, almost running away from us, passing by as quickly as a train car carrying hobos, where Linda Manz's warm narration of innocence sweeps in and out like a strand of wheat floating about in the wind, sometimes as naive as a child, sometimes endlessly philosophical and all-knowing, also like a child. However, just because it is a quick film does not make it a rushed film. The editing and the loose form are intentional, obviously, and I think there is something to be tapped from the nimble nature, seen in the way the narrative entangles notions of natural tragedy and the manmade tragedy. Those towering shots of Sam Shepard's farmhouse, gorgeously and meticulously constructed, standing erect like a monument amidst the backdrop of brown grass. Nature is elected here as a free-wheeling entity, wind plays as a major motif, and the vastness of the environment often feels obscured with the way Malick shoots Gere in long lenses. There's something there, the discord between man and nature, but also the harmony, the fact that fate is humanity, that things, no matter how tragic (and they are tragic), are somehow playing out just the way they were intended, and will continue to play out even after we are gone.

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