Analysis Of Terrence Malick 's Days Of Heaven And Badlands

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Against a subdued landscape of blushing scarlet skies, rolling countryside hills, and endless terrains of natural Earth, Terrence Malick constructs his divine cinematic world. Malick’s films, Days of Heaven and Badlands both contain the element of paradise lost, making almost every scene reminiscent of an Eden-esque time and place before the heavenly garden was on the cusp of ruin. This recurring element indicates that Malick is an Auteur, a filmmaker whose original directing style can be reflected in each of his works as an artistic stamp (Boda). This stamp can take the form of a common motif, a common setting, or a common set of actors. For Malick’s films, several of these mutual components exist. Terrence Malick demonstrates the Auteur…show more content…
Terrence Malick’s distinct emphasis on setting provides for this reserved subplot within the central synopsis of his films allowing it to serve as a “silent character” with the capacity to develop and progress the storyline. Furthermore, this emphasis establishes setting as one of the most chief elements of a Terrence Malick film, as demonstrated again in his later film, Days of Heaven. Complementary to Badlands, Malick’s Days of Heaven takes place in the prairielands of Texas with endless fields of grain and Earth. Protagonists, Bill and Abby find themselves on the run from civilization into the wild, as Kit and Holly had. Once again, the audience finds itself overwhelmed by the Eden-esque setting of the film. Malick uses this setting to demonstrate the preeminence that the natural world holds over civilization spiritually (Angelson). Its beauty and quietude along with the steady or still camera shots provide this consistent sense of a perishing almost-paradise in need of salvation. Through his choice of setting, Malick creates a visual Eden for the public eye to feast upon, while it serves as a voiceless character in his many works. A remarkably unique element of all Terrence Malick’s films is the lack of artificial lighting usage. Rather than rely on equipment, Malick utilizes muted, natural sunlight during a period of time referred to as “magic hour”, the twilight hours before sunrise and after sunset, to illuminate his shots (Hopwood). The

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