DAYS OF HEAVEN (1978)
In celebration of the release of Terrence Mallick's sixth film, THE TREE OF LIFE, in his near 30-year career, the Vancity International Film Centre in downtown Vancouver is playing all five of his previous films! Last night I went to see DAYS OF HEAVEN which is a beautiful film starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, and Sam Shepard. It is a gorgeously shot film about a young man who, along with his girlfriend and little sister, arrives in Depression-era panhandle of Texas to work on a wheat farm. Upon learning that the young and wealthy landowner that he works for doesn't have long to live, Bill (Richard Gere) convinces his girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams) to become romantically involved with the farmer so that once he dies they can take over his land and estate. It is a tragic film that captures the desperation and frustration of the era and the widening gap between rich and poor. But most memorably it captures the beauty of the panhandle; the seas of wheat, the long summer evenings, the cold bitter winters, and the ever-present gusting wind. I think it's a great love story and glimpse into the era, and through Mallick's near-documentary filmmaking style it feels like we are there and are permitted to look around and take in the flora and fauna. Worth a view! Also, shot in Alberta, I believe. And from what I remember from the documentary on the DVD, it was shot with mostly available lighting and (I'm sure to the producer's chagrin) during almost exclusively "magic hour," that special time of day around dusk that provides inimatable lighting.