Want More Weekly Wire?
Days of Heaven
From 1978, this new print of Terrence Malick's second film is also remembered for the work of the great Spanish cinematographer Néstor Almendros (1930–1992). He won an Oscar for shooting most of Days during "golden hour," when the sun lay low on the horizon, and the fatness of the sky produced a diffuse prairie light the actors almost seemed to touch and handle. (Purists will protest that Almendros only shot most of the film, working in tandem with Haskell Wexler, who already had two Oscars by then.) In all Malick films, as with The New World, nature is as much a character—and a shaper of fate—as the cast speaking the words. Yet Days is, like all Malick movies, essentially laconic and interior, so far as the players are concerned. In outline, it's a simple love triangle (verging on noir) among Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, and Sam Shepard, the latter playing a wealthy farmer who employs seasonal workers in his Texas wheat fields before World War I. Linda Manz, as Gere's sister, relates much of the story in voice-over—another Malick hallmark—as the presumably dying Shepard marries Adams, then fails to croak, spoiling the inheritance plot against him. Gere is forced to leave for a while, then returns with a vengeance—like the wind and fire and locusts besieging the farm. Does the love triangle matter? Does the conflict between Gere and Shepard? Not really—they're like the waving grass in The New World and The Thin Red Line and Badlands. Everyone's ephemeral, like the crops and the seasons. Yet that doesn't diminish the emotions on Malick's broad canvas. (NR) Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380, www.nwfilmforum.org. $6–$8. 7 and 9 p.m. Through Nov. 30. BRIAN MILLER