The following piece about Art Center Film faculty member, Billy Weber, was originally published in the September-October 2013 issue of Editors Guild Magazine
Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven” (1978) was, and remains, a riveting film. From the opening montage of period stills accompanied by Saint-Saens’ musical suite, “The Carnival of the Animals” to the final shot of young Linda Manz’s character skipping off into an unknown future, the film has an emotional, almost hypnotic, pull that never lets up.
The editing is such that practically every cut brings a new flood of information, in an elliptical style in which image and naturalistic sounds take precedence over dialogue. And yet, despite the lack of normal storytelling convention, the film packs an emotional wallop unlike very many movies in history. Released 35 years ago this September through Paramount Pictures, “Days of Heaven” introduced a new style of storytelling to the American cinema, albeit one that has not been widely imitated.