Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spirit, Now I Know Where You Live.

The New World
2005, Terrence Malick
Collin Farrell, Christian Bale, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer

Now, this is one of my very favorite films, of ever. I have been known to, on more than one occasion, watch it every night for a whole week. So naturally, I am going to gush about it quite a bit. I know very well that Terrence Malick's chosen form of story-telling isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the story he tells here is one that everyone should see. Here's the trailer.

I am a hardcore fan of Pocahontas (not her real name) in general, and also routinely salivate over Christian Bale, so of course I was very excited to see this film when I heard about it. Terrence Malick made the rather brave choice of casting a relatively unknown, 14 year old Q'Orianka Kilcher to play the part, a girl who's meant to go from age 12 to age 21 over the course of the film, and she does so flawlessly. Collin Farrell is the ever-self-involved explorer John Smith, and Christian Bale the widdower tabacco farmer John Rolfe, whom Pocahontas eventually marries.

This story is told quietly; long scenes go by with only the wind and birds and trees offering any dialogue. Various characters narrate at various time, most of their words taken from the journals and letters that still exist from their respective characters. Not all is so historically accurate of course, the relationship between Captain Smith and Pocahontas is, as usual, romantisized, but not nearly to the extent of other films. She is in love with him, he is in love with her people, with the innocence and potential of her culture. But of course, as can be expected and as is recorded, peace between the two cultures can not and does not last for long.

Her marriage to John Rolfe is perhaps some of the best parts of the movie, likely because there's so much of it that is historically documented in his journals and those of their son, and thus much of what is on screen is exactly what happened: After the loss of his wife, John Rolfe meets a young woman who has been exiled by her own people, and they find kinship there. But this film is more than just the story of her, rather it is the story of America's beginning, with Pocahontas' life as the allegory. As the tagline says, "Once discovered, it was changed forever." This is the kind of film one can drift through, like a dream, from long swaying grasses and trees, to the silent, too-perfect gardens of England. Again, this type of film may not be for everyone, but it's certainly good for a nice, cerebral float. Plus, both Christian Bale and Collinn Farrell are super-yummy. And I'm not even a big Collin Farrell fan!

And hey, because I'm shmultzy like that, fanvid!

Now, my fingers are still frozen from packing boxes in the cold, I must go unfreeze them if I want to get any knitting done today...

~ Amy


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