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Re: [terrencemalick] fire and water, and light

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  • Angela Havel
    Oscar: Regarding the magic hour : I purposely wait until sunset to take my daily two-mile walk with my dogs Duke and Joey and two cats (one of them actually
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 1, 2006
      Oscar:

      Regarding the "magic hour": I purposely wait until
      sunset to take my daily two-mile walk with my dogs
      Duke and Joey and two cats (one of them actually makes
      it the entire two miles! : ) so I get to see the sun
      slanting on the prairie grass during most of all of
      the walk. I consider this great meditation; I don't
      think about anything--I just listen for the wind and
      the birds' calls and watch the dogs trotting along
      happily (the cats are always behind, so I can't see
      them). As I've mentioned before, the landscape around
      here looks a lot like the vistas in *Days of Heaven,*
      and for some reason that makes the walk more engaging.

      Hey Oscar, I know this is way after the fact, but I
      received the books--thanks again! The past couple of
      weeks have been busy, so I haven't delved into them
      yet, but I'm starting on them tonight.

      Let me know if you need them back when I'm done!

      Angela


      --- mhb5133 <mhb5133@...> wrote:

      > Hello Angela and all,
      >
      > Wild guess off the top of my head that the
      > juxtapositions create a balance, as Agape mentioned
      > earlier, a yin and yang thing - as the film itself
      > tries to find an overall balance (or an "answer")
      > between the damage man does to nature and to himself
      > and the possibility for transcendence, hooking into
      > something eternal in the face of the transience that
      > war magnifies.
      >
      > Speaking of transcendence, I've got it in my head
      > that Emerson, one of America's great philosophers
      > and an essayist on Nature, may be able to supply
      > some insight on Malick, another American philosopher
      > with an eye toward his version of God and nature. My
      > current guide is The Spiritual Teachings of Ralph
      > Waldo Emerson, by Richard Geldard.
      >
      > It's a very difficult thing to describe in prose,
      > but the one thing that makes me most feel the
      > possibility of a higher power is the light, the way
      > light falls upon the land. And of course
      > specifically during Malick's famed magic hour, the
      > first and last hours of each day, in which the
      > slanting sun illuminates each and every blade of
      > grass and the world seem still and timeless. It's in
      > some ways a lonely time, and a beautiful one. I'm
      > sure it has a lot to do with DOH being my favorite
      > film. A feeling it creates as much as anything we
      > could analyze to death, as we are wont to do.
      >
      > All the best, Oscar
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Angela Havel" <anghave@...>
      > To: <terrencemalick@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2006 5:49 PM
      > Subject: Re: [terrencemalick] Re: More on The
      > Unanswered Question -- Addendum
      >
      >
      > > Tuan:
      > >
      > > You wrote:
      > >
      > > Interestingly, his death is foreshadowed
      > throughout the film. In the conversation with Wesh
      > in the brig, Welsh tells him, "All a man has to do
      > is leave it to you, and you put your head in the
      > noose for him." (When Witt later lights the match, a
      > couple of shots later shows his flashback of him as
      > a child baling hay with his father. The fiery match
      > juxtaposed with the hay subtly recalls the
      > conflagration that engulfs the wheatfields in DAYS
      > OF HEAVEN.)
      > >
      > >
      > > I noticed also on my latest viewing of TTRL
      > > at least three different places in the film
      > > where a fire image (candle flame, etc.) is
      > > followed directly by a water image (usually
      > > a river). I didn't write these shots down so
      > > can't name them specifically, but the instances
      > > were quite blatant. Any ideas as to what this
      > > juxtaposition represents, anyone?
      > >
      > > Angela
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > vanvutu <vanvutu@...> wrote: --- In
      > terrencemalick@yahoogroups.com, "a_gapey" wrote:
      > >>
      > >> But during their whole
      > >> conversation Witt also looks at Welsh with a kind
      > of wise, knowing
      > >> smile, as if he already - instinctively or
      > consciously - knows the
      > >> answer himself and realises that Welsh is
      > incapable of "getting it"
      > >> at that moment. Witt's look in this scene imo
      > also harkens back to
      > >> his reply to Welsh in the brigg: "I can take
      > anything you can dish
      > >> out - I'm twice the man you are".
      > >
      > > Agape -
      > >
      > > That "I'm twice the man you are" comment by Witt
      > may be closer to the
      > > proud peckerwood version of him from the novel but
      > is completely out
      > > of character to the film's portrayal of him.
      > Although it may be a
      > > stretch, I'd like to think that that comment
      > alludes to his dual
      > > role as both a compassionate soul and an efficient
      > killer as well
      > > (and this is emblematic of the duality theme,
      > which I see so central
      > > to the film). The film gives so many examples of
      > this, but one scene
      > > that really stands out is during the Japanese
      > bivouac sequence. Witt
      > > kneels down to the clearly defeated enemy on the
      > ground, puts down
      > > his rifle, then takes his hand.(Again, constrast
      > Witt's behavior with
      > > Dale's during this same sequence.)
      > >
      > >>
      > >> I think TTRL actually does offer lots of answers
      > to the questions
      > > it
      > >> poses, but they are just as open to
      > interpretation as the questions
      > >> are open-ended. And whereas the questions are
      > formulated literally
      > > as
      > >> interrogations, the "answers" are just as likely
      > to come in the
      > > form
      > >> of non-verbal scenes or accumulations of images
      > as in scenes with
      > >> dialogue or voice overs. Your example of Witt's
      > self-sacrifice is a
      > >> good example of a clear answer (probably the only
      > one!) coming in
      > > the
      > >> form of a specific scene, but most "answers" are
      > oblique.
      > >
      > > Interestingly, his death is foreshadowed
      > throughout the film. In the
      > > conversation with Wesh in the brig, Welsh tells
      > him, "All a man has
      > > to do is leave it to you, and you put your head in
      > the noose for
      > > him." (When Witt later lights the match, a couple
      > of shots later
      > > shows his flashback of him as a child baling hay
      > with his father. The
      > > fiery match juxtaposed with the hay subtly recalls
      > the conflagration
      > > that engulfs the wheatfields in DAYS OF HEAVEN.)
      > And in their second
      > > conversation, again, he asks Witt, "What
      > difference do you think you
      > > can make, one man in all this madness?" Lighting
      > up his cigarette, he
      > > compares it to "running into a burning house where
      > no one can be
      > > saved." In their final conversation in that
      > abandoned plantation
      > > house (itself like the treetop hideaway in
      > BADLANDS), Witt at one
      > > point goes into a room and looks up at the sun
      > shining through the
      > > holes in that bullet-riddled corrugated tin roof
      > and reminiscent of
      > > the bedroom of Witt's dying mother where we see
      > the sky where the
      > > ceiling should be. (It also is a visual parallel
      > to the last image
      > > Bead saw before he died: that of lightshafts
      > through the insect-
      > > ravaged leaves. After Witt is gunned down, there
      > is a low-angle
      > > cutaway to the light shining down through the
      > jungle canopy above).
      > > And after that final conversation, we see Welsh
      > walking around at
      > > night and looking down at Witt, who is shown
      > sleeping flat on his
      > > back and his arms crossing each other over his
      > chest.
      > >
      > > The phrase "Christ figure" got used a lot when
      > describing Witt, and
      > > it's funny how Jim Caviezel (initials JC) later
      > went on to play the
      > > literal Christ figure!
      > >
      > > Tuan
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
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