Festival de Cannes 70: Terrence Malick, 1979

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

Chosen above heavyweight Francis Ford Coppola for Apocalypse Now (which won the Palme d’Or), Terrence Malick triumphed as Best Director in Cannes 1979. I remember when I was very, very young, watching a documentary about cinematography (as you do), and there was a significant discussion on Days of Heaven. I watched film frames capture so much scenery, and the camera moving with Richard Gere as he shoveled coal into a furnace, eloquent and glorious camera-work I, as a kid, had not really seen too much of. And was now being educated, and certainly appreciating the craft. Néstor Almendros won Best Cinematography at the Oscars, and this movie is a text-book example of the craft, even now. Malick, though, is a true master behind the camera, an artist who can incorporate his bold skill as a director into the movement and vision of the camera frame. He has since worked with the likes of cinematographers John Toll and Emmanuel Lubezki, with similarly amazing visual results. Sometimes his landscapes are untouchable, a real treat for the eyes. Days of Heaven was the promise he has soon kept. A mere 32 years would float on by before he would claim the Palme d’Or himself, for Tree of Life.


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