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Re: [terrencemalick] Sean Penn

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  • Queen Mag
    Greets, Jos, I know I already wrote you about this, but I wanted to add something. While I was reading How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 1, 2000
      Greets,

      Jos, I know I already wrote you about this, but I wanted to add something.

      While I was reading "How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western
      Thought and Culture" there were many passages in it that brought TTRL - and
      especially Sean's character of Welsh - to the forefront of my mind.

      The book is written by the Christian writer and theologist, Francis Schaeffer,
      and is from the his religious point of view. I'm not sure I agree with all what
      he says, nor do I think he gives credit always where it is due, but I found his
      essential argument to be compelling: Can Mankind maintain values based on
      nothing?

      He starts off with Ancient Rome, and swiftly goes through the Middle Ages, the
      Reformation, the Renaissance, and modern science, examining the influence of a
      Bible-based Christianity (or lack of). He also writes about the four
      philosophers - Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and Kierkegaard - whom he feels were most
      responsible (though, perhaps, without art) for the evolution of Humanism from a
      philosophy of optimism to one of pessimism, and to the dividing of reason from
      meaning. Welsh came to mind mostly when I read what Schaeffer had to say about
      the "modern man" who struggles to live with values but without any basis for
      those values but himself.

      To my mind, Welsh is the most suffering and also most familiar character in TTRL
      because he is torn between two modes: I care vs. why should I care? - or - it
      matters to me vs. nothing matters. I see this struggle going on in people almost
      every day. Basically, it is one part of oneself trying to reconcile with the
      other part - yet maybe they are irreconcilable. Schaeffer says that without
      Absolutes they are irreconcilable.

      In any case, I am not well-versed in philosophies so this is just my own
      *idea* - and there is a good chance it's wrong - but I think that if Badlands
      and DoH can be seen as existentialist, then TTRL could be seen as the response
      to existentialism after years of having tried to live with it. Or maybe it is a
      response to numerous philosophies (e.g. Romanticism and "Nature is cruel,
      Staros"). I feel that Welsh is extremely vital to the movie because he relates
      to both Witt and the other, less conscious soldiers. I think he most represents
      the modern man, if one defines the modern man as Schaeffer does: as one who
      believes we are all machines (merely the result of genes and environment
      functioning in a clockwork universe), yet finds oneself unable to live as a
      machine - that the desire for meaning conflicts with the desire to be
      independent.

      So, to conclude, I am thinking perhaps Penn is listed first and solely because
      he is the big question mark in the movie. I don't think he has a lot of voice
      overs, but still whenever he is onscreen, he seems to be the one with the most
      on his mind.

      adios, hasta luego.
      -QMag

      ***************************
      You must not be afraid,
      you must turn the page.
      ~Terence Trent D'Arby





      -----Original Message-----
      From: jos_linn@... <jos_linn@...>
      To: terrencemalick@egroups.com <terrencemalick@egroups.com>
      Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2000 9:54 AM
      Subject: [terrencemalick] Sean Penn


      Dear Friends,

      Maybe this has been discussed before (if so, maybe someone can
      reference me to the post where it was discussed), but do we know why
      Sean Penn was listed alone in the credits of TTRL while the other
      actors (and apparently more popular ones like Travolta, Nolte and
      Clooney or more visible ones in TTRL like Cavaziel and Chaplin) were
      listed in alphabetical order in groups? Was this just a
      studio thing or demand by Sean Penn (which doesn't sound like him) or
      yet another subtle hint from Mr. Malick to us die hard fans? If it's
      a hint, what is it? Is Welsh (or Welsh's outlook) Mr. Malick's
      focus? Does Mr. Mailck identify with Welsh more than anyone else? I
      am just curious, if anyone knows.
    • jos_linn@hotmail.com
      Dear QueenMag, I completely agree. This is a wonderful post. I do think Welsh is the linch-pin. The connection between the life we all normally experience
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 1, 2000
        Dear QueenMag,

        I completely agree. This is a wonderful post. I do think Welsh
        is the linch-pin. The connection between the life we all normally
        experience and the one Witt speaks of. He represents choice, fear,
        disgust, apathy, sadness, disillusionment. But most of all, he
        represents hope. His actions and presence, IMO, are a desperate cry
        for there not to be only this world, even though he doubts that when
        he talks to Witt. Toll is too far gone. Too wrapped in the man he
        has made himself with no desire any longer to move toward
        the "Light". Witt is the one who has made the transition. Seen the
        Light and refusing to let it go. And Welsh is the bridge. He is the
        choice we all have. To accept what we experience in life as all
        there is or to look beyond it, behind it for something more. "One
        glance from your eyes, and I am yours." He knows it's there but he
        can't see it yet. He is our growth forward. Witt being the end,
        Toll being the past. I don't know if this is making any sense. I am
        just kind of rambling. I think many of us identify with Witt because
        he is who we want to be and we sometimes overlook Welsh, for he is
        who we are (at least for now).

        It's interesting. I watched the old trailer from TTRL at movie-
        list.com and he is listed first in the credits there too. And the
        voiceover is someone completely different. No accent or anything.
        It sounds kind of empty compared to the one in the film itself.

        Thank you QueenMag for a wonderfully insightful post. It has
        helped me more than you know.

        Jos

        --- In terrencemalick@egroups.com, "Queen Mag" <mulghaz@j...> wrote:
        > Greets,
        >
        > Jos, I know I already wrote you about this, but I wanted to add
        something.
        >
        > While I was reading "How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline
        of Western
        > Thought and Culture" there were many passages in it that brought
        TTRL - and
        > especially Sean's character of Welsh - to the forefront of my mind.
        >
        > The book is written by the Christian writer and theologist, Francis
        Schaeffer,
        > and is from the his religious point of view. I'm not sure I agree
        with all what
        > he says, nor do I think he gives credit always where it is due, but
        I found his
        > essential argument to be compelling: Can Mankind maintain values
        based on
        > nothing?
        >
        > He starts off with Ancient Rome, and swiftly goes through the
        Middle Ages, the
        > Reformation, the Renaissance, and modern science, examining the
        influence of a
        > Bible-based Christianity (or lack of). He also writes about the
        four
        > philosophers - Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and Kierkegaard - whom he
        feels were most
        > responsible (though, perhaps, without art) for the evolution of
        Humanism from a
        > philosophy of optimism to one of pessimism, and to the dividing of
        reason from
        > meaning. Welsh came to mind mostly when I read what Schaeffer had
        to say about
        > the "modern man" who struggles to live with values but without any
        basis for
        > those values but himself.
        >
        > To my mind, Welsh is the most suffering and also most familiar
        character in TTRL
        > because he is torn between two modes: I care vs. why should I
        care? - or - it
        > matters to me vs. nothing matters. I see this struggle going on in
        people almost
        > every day. Basically, it is one part of oneself trying to
        reconcile with the
        > other part - yet maybe they are irreconcilable. Schaeffer says that
        without
        > Absolutes they are irreconcilable.
        >
        > In any case, I am not well-versed in philosophies so this is just
        my own
        > *idea* - and there is a good chance it's wrong - but I think that
        if Badlands
        > and DoH can be seen as existentialist, then TTRL could be seen as
        the response
        > to existentialism after years of having tried to live with it. Or
        maybe it is a
        > response to numerous philosophies (e.g. Romanticism and "Nature is
        cruel,
        > Staros"). I feel that Welsh is extremely vital to the movie because
        he relates
        > to both Witt and the other, less conscious soldiers. I think he
        most represents
        > the modern man, if one defines the modern man as Schaeffer does: as
        one who
        > believes we are all machines (merely the result of genes and
        environment
        > functioning in a clockwork universe), yet finds oneself unable to
        live as a
        > machine - that the desire for meaning conflicts with the desire to
        be
        > independent.
        >
        > So, to conclude, I am thinking perhaps Penn is listed first and
        solely because
        > he is the big question mark in the movie. I don't think he has a
        lot of voice
        > overs, but still whenever he is onscreen, he seems to be the one
        with the most
        > on his mind.
        >
        > adios, hasta luego.
        > -QMag
        >
        > ***************************
        > You must not be afraid,
        > you must turn the page.
        > ~Terence Trent D'Arby
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: jos_linn@h... <jos_linn@h...>
        > To: terrencemalick@egroups.com <terrencemalick@egroups.com>
        > Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2000 9:54 AM
        > Subject: [terrencemalick] Sean Penn
        >
        >
        > Dear Friends,
        >
        > Maybe this has been discussed before (if so, maybe someone can
        > reference me to the post where it was discussed), but do we know why
        > Sean Penn was listed alone in the credits of TTRL while the other
        > actors (and apparently more popular ones like Travolta, Nolte and
        > Clooney or more visible ones in TTRL like Cavaziel and Chaplin) were
        > listed in alphabetical order in groups? Was this just a
        > studio thing or demand by Sean Penn (which doesn't sound like him)
        or
        > yet another subtle hint from Mr. Malick to us die hard fans? If
        it's
        > a hint, what is it? Is Welsh (or Welsh's outlook) Mr. Malick's
        > focus? Does Mr. Mailck identify with Welsh more than anyone else?
        I
        > am just curious, if anyone knows.
      • septimus
        ... I agree completely. In my over-romanticized view I always feel that Malick asked the essential question in _Days of Heaven_, then hid in the wilderness
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 1, 2000
          Queen Mag wrote:
          >
          > In any case, I am not well-versed in philosophies so this is just my own
          > *idea* - and there is a good chance it's wrong - but I think that if Badlands
          > and DoH can be seen as existentialist, then TTRL could be seen as the response
          > to existentialism after years of having tried to live with it.

          I agree completely. In my over-romanticized view I always feel that
          Malick asked
          the essential question in _Days of Heaven_, then hid in the wilderness
          for 20
          years before emerging to answer it in _The Thin Red Line_. It is only a
          partial
          answer, but worth the wait.

          I feel that Welsh is extremely vital to the movie because he relates
          > to both Witt and the other, less conscious soldiers. I think he most represents
          > the modern man, if one defines the modern man as Schaeffer does: as one who
          > believes we are all machines (merely the result of genes and environment
          > functioning in a clockwork universe), yet finds oneself unable to live as a
          > machine - that the desire for meaning conflicts with the desire to be
          > independent.

          I always feel that Witt is the one closest to Malick, because both are
          so
          at ease in nature and with other cultures; both are indifferent to
          material
          success or status and are afflicted with wanderlust.

          > So, to conclude, I am thinking perhaps Penn is listed first and solely because
          > he is the big question mark in the movie. I don't think he has a lot of voice
          > overs, but still whenever he is onscreen, he seems to be the one with the most
          > on his mind.
          >
          I think Malick supposedly had Penn penned in as lead actor for a long
          time.
          Penn's response was (paraphrase) "when you need me, I'd be there."
          And so he was.

          This reminds me of the article by F.X. Feeney on Orson Welles'
          unproduced
          script. Welles asked six big name actors to star in his film: Eastwood,
          Beatty, Nickolson, Redford, Burt Reynolds, Newman. All of them made
          promises
          similar to Penn's and when the time came they all turned down the role.
          As a result, Welles' film ended up not being made.

          > adios, hasta luego.
          > -QMag
        • TCarey2183@aol.com
          In a message dated 08/01/2000 2:30:01 PM Eastern Daylight Time, mulghaz@jps.net writes:
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 1, 2000
            In a message dated 08/01/2000 2:30:01 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
            mulghaz@... writes:

            << So, to conclude, I am thinking perhaps Penn is listed first and solely
            because
            he is the big question mark in the movie. I don't think he has a lot of voice
            overs, but still whenever he is onscreen, he seems to be the one with the
            most
            on his mind. >>

            I always wondered what those casting agents did....

            Boy what a theory honey! Cool!

            ......Jess
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