I’ve seen the two films that open Ebertfest tonight, and I’m eager to see each of them again. One is (in this gabber’s opinion) writer-director Terence Malick’s masterpiece, DAYS OF HEAVEN (1978). Roger’s essay on that film emphasizes the voice that tells its potentially melodramatic story. By “voice,” I don’t simply mean the immortal narration by child actor Linda Manz but also Malick’s sophisticated way of telling his story from both under the skin of the characters and from the margins. I’d call it 21st Century screenwriting if there were contemporary examples as elegant and effortlessly propulsive. (Sorry, UPSTREAM COLOR and TO THE WONDER (Malick’s latest)–not even close.)
The other film showing, I REMEMBER, is a short by my friend Grace Wang, told from under the skin, in the moment. It’s about memory, intimacy and loss. Grace manages to seduce the eye and ear with an assuredness similar to Malick’s on DAYS OF HEAVEN–except in one small apartment rather than any expanse comparable to DAYS’ Texas Panhandle.