Days of Heaven Ritzy Picturehouse 3 July

That looks very like Levitan to me

Before this showing of Days of Heaven as part of the Ritzy’s Terrence Malick season we had an introduction by Asif Kapadia, the director of Senna who had once almost worked with Malick on a project.  He said that TM was a regular guy, he just didn’t like doing press–what was on the screen was the important thing for him.  Nature and Graham Greene were important themes in his work, and he liked to keep things simple.  He would visit locations with a camera before the crew got there to capture what the places were really like.

Asif Kapadia

He said that there were few prints of this film around and he didn’t know how good this one would be–apparently the studio had tried to make space by getting rid of some crap called Days of Thunder and a slight error had occurred…

So then we had Days of Heaven.  I was glad to see a film with working people as protagonists and there were some lovely images.  In principle the story was quite credible.  The idea is that Richard Gere and Brooke Adams are lovers who are pretending to be bother and sister and run away to work on a farm after Richard Gere gets into trouble at the factory.  Then rich but sickly farmer Sam Shepard falls for Brooke Adams and Richard Gere decides that Brooke Adams can marry him and then they’ll be rich once the farmer hurries up and dies.  There’s also Richard Gere’s real kid sister who provides voice-over narration and is played by someone.  Of course it all ends badly.

To me that’s good mainline Thomas Hardy and it’s also the kind of thing I can imagine my grandfather doing in the not terribly adjacent Canadian wheatfields.  In fact pimping his wife would probably have been a bit much for him, though I’m not so sure about at least one of my uncles.  But Richard Gere was awful, a kind of mass of grey tedium.  I couldn’t understand a lot of his words.  He sounded like an Italian trying to speak English and suppress his natural modulations. Brooke Adams managed both to be extremely beautiful and to look like a real person, which is something American cinema actresses often fail at.  But she seemed too much like your pretty kind sensible American girl to undertake anything so stupid.  You needed more words to make that real.

Sam Shepard was good as the farmer though!

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