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Malick’s Nature

The New World - Histoire(s) du cinéma

Malick’s Nature

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Opening with the picturesque, cartographic credits by Kyle Cooper, The New World – great auteur Terrence Malick’s fourth feature – is beyond its historical reference a narrative of love found yet lost, loss of innocence, greed, prejudice and of overcoming the latter. The playground of this beautifully cruel fairy tale is mother nature, shown in its rawness and intactness with breathtaking, wide-angle shots – shot by the indispensable Emmanuel Lubezki. With a theological and philosophical undertone – emphasized through voice-overs –, Malick visualizes a man’s darwinian evolution through contrasting the Colonial men’s estrangement from nature with the innocent ways of the Powhatans; a posteriori attaching our sense of belonging and origin to mother nature. Underscored with Wagner’s and Mozart’s works, this cinematografic symphony offers a slightly ironic yet utopian final act, reminding us that to give life and to be at peace means to live in harmony with mother nature; a mother free of greed, prejudice, hate and destruction. It’s auteur cinema at its best.

Nadine Vafi
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