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Terrence Malick / US, 1973

Violent lovers Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek are dreaming of freedom in Terrence Malick’s debut feature film. Part of Looking for America: The Road Is Life.

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Malick based himself for his director”s debut on the Starkweather-Fugate murders of the 1950s, when a fifteen-year-old girl and her boyfriend of 25 embarked on a killing spree in Dakota”s Badlands. After having gunned down Holly”s entire family, the bored young couple Kit (Sheen) and Holly (Spacek) get away by car, crossing the endless plains of America, their love fuelled by acts of random violence.

Malick, the recluse philosopher-filmmaker, shines an uncomfortably realistic light on a typical American phenomenon: that of the random killer on the loose, murdering without any apparent motive. It was the same phenomenon that inspired Quentin Tarantino to produce the screenplay for Natural Born Killers. Malick later achieved fame with films like Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998) and The Tree Of Life (2011), productions that were both acclaimed and vilified.

Screened on 2 November with an introduction by Maryn Wilkinson (Assistant Professor in Film Studies, Department for Media & Culture, University of Amsterdam). The presentation is in English. The start of Looking for America: The Road is Life is celebrated on this evening with a free beer from independent brewers Flying Dog, Brooklyn Brewery and Anderson Valley.



Terrence Malick

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still from Badlands (Terrence Malick, US 1973)
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