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Days of Heaven

USA 1978. Dir: Terrence Malick. 94 min. DCP

Terrence Malick, American cinema’s great philosopher-poet, confirmed his genius with this ravishing masterwork, one of the most beautiful films ever made. Set in the 1910s, it stars Richard Gere as Bill, a Chicago steelworker who accidentally kills his foreman and goes on the lam with his sweetheart Abby (Brooke Adams) and his teenage sister (Linda Manz), the film’s blind-spotted, raspy-voiced narrator. Finding refuge in the Elysian wheat fields of the Texas Panhandle, they’re hired as seasonal harvesters by an ailing farmer (the late Sam Shepard, RIP) — who falls in love with Abby, believing she’s Bill’s sister. Malick motifs are here in sublime supply: hushed, reverie-like voiceover; endless magic hour; the indivisibility of man, nature, and God (biblical locusts literally appear). Néstor Almendros’s impressionistic, Oscar-winning cinematography is a benchmark for the art form; Malick’s visionary prowess won him Best Director at Cannes.


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REVIEWS

"[A] masterwork ... Visually and thematically, it’s still one of the most beautiful films ever made."

Time Out | full review

"A dramatically moving and technically breathtaking American art film, one of the great cinematic achievements of the 1970s."

Variety | full review