Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

Introduction to Terrence Malick: Badlands and Days of Heaven

By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 04, 2023 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

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This is the first episode of a series covering the complete filmography of Terrence Malick, who is arguably both the most important Christian filmmaker working today and the most important filmmaker working today, period.

What sets Malick apart from a number of other directors whose work deals with a religious search, is that his films are not just about searching indefinitely with no answer, but they come from the perspective of a sincere believer who actually has a positive proposal about life’s meaning.

Some of his best-known movies in which this positive proposal is evident are A Hidden Life, The Tree of Life, and The Thin Red Line. But we are starting from the beginning, with Malick’s first two films, Badlands (1973) and Days of Heaven (1978).

In these two films we already see Malick’s personality on display: his gorgeous visual style with a heavy focus on the beauty of the natural world, his use of voiceover narration and classical music, his improvisational approach, and the impressionistic rather than plot-driven nature of much of his work.

His philosophical interests (Malick spent time as a philosophy professor and even translated a work by Heidegger) are also evident in both films but the second feature, Days of Heaven, is the first to introduce the extensive Scriptural references featured in all of his films since.

James and Thomas are joined by Catholic filmmaker and critic Nathan Douglas for this series.

0:00 Introduction to Terrence Malick

32:10 Badlands

1:08:54 Days of Heaven

Nathan Douglas’s website https://nwdouglas.com/about

Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission. https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com

Criteria is hosted by Thomas V. Mirus and James T. Majewski.

Thomas is Director of Podcasts for CatholicCulture.org and hosts the Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

James is the Director of Customer Relations for CatholicCulture.org as well as the host and narrator for Catholic Culture Audiobooks. See full bio.

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