The New World
Directed by Terrence Malick
Running time: 130 minutes
The New World (2005) features fanatics rather than fans amongst its supporters although its mixed reception and box office failure caused it to be less widely-known than it deserves. Directed by Terence Malick (of Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line fame) it is based on the American foundation myth: the story of the development of Jamestown, Virginia and the thwarted love affair of Native American girl Pocahontas and English Captain John Smith. Described in The Guardian as “a bottomless movie, almost unspeakably beautiful and formally harmonious”, it features magnificent acting from its three main characters, including an award-winning performance by first-time teenage actress Q'orianka Kilcher. Kilcher plays Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan (August Schellenberg) who witnesses the arrival of three ships sent by England to found a colony in the New World. Aboard one of the ships is Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) who is subsequently captured by the Native Americans when he goes on a trade trip up river. Sentenced to death, Smith is spared when Pocahontas intervenes and saves his life and their relationship begins. Conceived by Malick during the Vietnam War it was finally made over three decades later with a huge 50m budget and total directorial freedom. Its methods and style stay true to Malick's vision for “natural light, no cranes, no big rigs, handheld” and the result is bare-boned filmmaking at its best, underpinned by Buddhism, ethnography and naturalism. Malick is known for his creative editing techniques and the film's final edit recalls Godard's jump-cuts, as much as the structures of classical music. Described by The New York Times as the “finest work of his career”, it has since been acknowledged as the best film of its decade.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.