Days of Heaven

Screening on Film
Directed by Terrence Malick.
With Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Linda Manz.
US, 1978, 35mm, color, 94 min.

One of the most critically acclaimed American films of the past quarter-century, Days of Heaven was Terrence Malick’s second feature. (His third would not be completed until just this past year, when The Thin Red Line was released.) Set in the rich farmlands of Texas during the early part of the century, the film focuses on a young couple (Gere and Adams) who drift across the country with his younger sister (Manz) in tow. The story is told from the point of view of this last character, a midwestern teenager who mixes commentary with reportage and whose voice-overs have the feel of lyric poetry. Posing as siblings, the trio finds work on the land of a solitary wheat farmer (playwright Sam Shepard, in his film debut as an actor) and briefly enjoys the good life—the film’s titled "days of heaven."

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