Thursday, April 05, 2007

The New World (to some, it was already thousands of years old...)


'The New World' is a DVD in my possession. It was given to me by someone who, after watching it - decided not to keep it in her DVD library.

I had no preconceived ideas or high/low expectations before viewing the film myself.
[Though after watching/forming my own opinion, I've since read that some theater goers walked out during the first minutes. In the comfort of my own living room, multitasking with a knitting project - my plan was to stay put.]

And so - 'The New World' - again, perhaps something of a misnomer for all who lived there for thousands of years before the arrival of outsiders...
Ahem. Moot point, however.
On to the movie...

...what a surprise.

'The New World' is:
An 'historical adventure' recounted with a decided emphasis on the pictorial. Big time allegorical imagery.

Heavy on the narrative (POV of the main characters), minimum of dialogue.

Offers unconventional storytelling, at least for a blockbuster epic. If 'The New World' was even destined for blockbuster status in the first place.

Features a musical score with nature sounds + Wagner opera + Mozart concertos + Native-American instruments + chants.
Incongruous? No.
Seamless? Yes.

This film pushes at the bounds of artistic film interpretation for the mainstream, which can prove fatal at the box office. Whilst watching - even with the distraction of knitting - I got the distinct feeling of connection in telepathic thought with the characters. Then there was the uncanny sense of feeling personally involved with moving within the scenes...

A thoughtful movie, with much built-in time to ponder - yes, this could be interpreted as slow.
However, meditation is a good thing. Particularly on this topic.
For me, it was kinda sorta - spiritual, even.

Mission accomplished (?) by director Terrence Malick.
It worked for me, anyway.

The 'official' movie link reflects something of the style of the film, and is a fascinating perusal. Have a listen to the Podcasts.
The music at the site is a delightful experience in and of itself.

If you're looking for the usual run-of-the-mill WhiteManMeetsInjuns shoot 'em up with guns and arrows story; with gratuitous rape, pillage and an abundance of riding 'cross the plains scenes (they are in the woods around the Jamestown Colony, after all), this one will bore you to tears. It's much more subtle than that. It's moviemaking with a sensitive approach to the topic. Sensitivity?!? No small wonder this one got 'overlooked' upon release in 2005.

One word movie review: Sublime.

1 comment:

jridesmisty said...

I loved that movie: The gorgeous cinematography and the minimal dialog made it great!

I want to know how people lived through those freezing winters wearing so little and how they didn't starve.

What dignity.