The Furniture In My Head

Episode Two Hundred Twenty Six: The Furniture In My Head.
In which we junk.

1 comment:

  1. Terrence Malick available on Criterion Channel. For the first time I've watched Badlands, with babies Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. I say babies, but Sheen was 33 and Spacek was 24 in 1973. She's playing a 15yo, and his character was 25. Still, they they look so young and clear and wiry, and I would have never guessed the actors were each a decade wiser.

    Anyway, landscape. Badlands, of course, expansive, and the film full of big sky and empty land. Geography as identity. Very Paul Metcalf.

    And then The New World (2005), which, again, I had never before seen. Once I got past the glory of Colin Farrell's liberated and shirtless John Smith, the film again impresses the significance of the land on the people. This is, of course, a cliche when telling a story of aboriginals and the cultural expansion of Western culture, but Malick's film internalizes the psychology in a way that puts the impact of this truth at the center of the tale. Smith's identity crisis at his banishment and subsequent immersion in the new land, and then his inevitable return to the West, and acceptance of his core being as irretrievably alienated from it. The variance between laying in the tall grass with Q'orianka Kilcher's Pocahontas and the prison-like destitution of the mud-caked, desperate Jamestown. The characterization of the 'in balance' native population, the leadership wary of the coming apocalyptic invasion. Compare this to the description of the early settlers, blindly grappling through the mud for gold, missing the forest for the trees.

    Similar disconnect for Kilcher's Pocahontas, whose role as cultural ambassador and bridge between the past and the future is characterized as both a schizophrenia imposed upon an innocent, a burden that can only lead to a corollary alienation, except, in a mirror of the history of the two cultures, for her it will lead to obliteration. There is something, too, stereo-typically gendered about these two characterizations.

    Anyway, I guess overall I found it to be a film that felt 'elevated Hollywood' more than 'inspired art house'. But it was beautifully shot, and I wasn't sorry to have watched it.

    This strip four shots in the film that spoke to me. They are out of sequence (from the story), and not relevant to the narrative of the tale. Still, as with Herzog's mission, I found them to be adequate images and wanted to celebrate them. Satisfying half-tone work, too.

    The title having to do with the burden of 'things' that plagues me these days.



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