Days of Heaven

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Days of Heaven was Terrence Malick's second film, and he still had a lot of his first, Badlands, in him. Once again, he turned a vast land into a stage for a kind of plainsman's Shakespearean drama. But where Badlands was chilling in its beauty, Days of Heaven's belle époque tale is bathed in the warm light of a mythical time when poverty sometimes had hope. Shooting in Canada, cinematographer Nestor Almendros, in his first American feature, captures an American landscape where Vermeer and Walker Evans meet. As in other Malick films (there are only four, including The Thin Red Line and the recent The New World), the story is saved from being either truth or fiction by its disingenuous narrator-here, Linda Manz as the kid sister to a husband-and-wife team (Richard Gere and Brooke Adams) who, posing as brother and sister, deceive and murder a wealthy farmer (Sam Shepard).

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