Watching Movies with Mitch Kaplan: ‘Days Of Heaven’ (1978)

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Join Books & Books founder Mitchell Kaplan and Bill Cosford Cinema manager Rene Rodriguez for a screening and Q&A discussion of Terrence Malick’s Oscar-winning 1978 drama “Days of Heaven.”

Miami Beach native, Mitchell Kaplan, opened the first Books & Books in 1982 in Coral Gables, Florida. Now with five South Florida locations, Books & Books hosts over 400 events per year. In addition, two of the stores are home to well-established cafes and there are Books & Books affiliated stores at the Miami International Airport, and in Key West, where he collaborates with the noted author Judy Blume and her husband, George.

Among his honors, Kaplan served as president of the American Booksellers Association and he received the Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation. Books & Books was also Publishers Weekly’s bookstore of the year. He recently accepted an appointment to serve on the Board of the National Coalition Against Censorship.

As co-founder of the Miami Book Fair in 1985, Kaplan has served as the chairperson of its Board of Directors and continues to guide the programming team at the Fair which takes place on the campus of Miami-Dade College in the heart of downtown Miami. Each year, the Fair presents close to 500 authors over one week in November, along with a street festival, where bookstalls line the streets adjacent to the campus. Programs take place in Creole, Spanish, and English, reflecting the diversity of Miami.

Kaplan, with his partner Paula Mazur, established The Mazur Kaplan Company to bring books to the screen, both film and television. His most recent release is “Let Him Go” starring Diane Lane and Kevin Costner. Kaplan also hosts the podcast “The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan,” broadcast from Miami, where he lives with his wife, Rachelle. They have three children, Anya, Daniel, and Jonah.

DAYS OF HEAVEN | DIRECTED BY: Terrence Malick | USA | 1978 | 1H 34M | RATED PG | STARRING: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard, andLinda Manz | 4K digital projection

One-of-a-kind filmmaker-philosopher Terrence Malick has created some of the most visually arresting films of the 20th century, and his glorious period tragedy “Days of Heaven,” featuring Oscar-winning cinematography by Nestor Almendros, stands out among them.

In 1910, a Chicago steelworker (Richard Gere) accidentally kills his supervisor, and he, his girlfriend (Brooke Adams), and his little sister (Linda Manz) flee to the Texas panhandle, where they find work harvesting wheat in the fields of a stoic farmer (Sam Shepard).

A love triangle, a swarm of locusts, a hellish fire—Malick captures it all with dreamlike authenticity, creating a timeless American idyll that is also a gritty evocation of turn-of-the-century labor.

Admission is FREE, but registration required at link,

“‘Days of Heaven’ is above all one of the most beautiful films ever made. Malick’s purpose is not to tell a story of melodrama, but one of loss. His tone is elegiac. He evokes the loneliness and beauty of the limitless Texas prairie. In the first hour of the film there is scarcely a scene set indoors. The farm workers camp under the stars and work in the fields, and even the farmer is so besotted by the weather that he tinkers with wind instruments on the roof of his Gothic mansion.

[The movie] has been criticized for its muted emotions: Although passions erupt in a deadly love triangle, all the feelings are somehow held at arm’s length. This observation is true enough, if you think only about the actions of the adults in the story. But watching this film again recently, I was struck more than ever with the conviction that this is the story of a teenage girl, told by her, and its subject is the way that hope and cheer have been beaten down in her heart.

We do not feel the full passion of the adults because it is not her passion: It is seen at a distance, as a phenomenon, like the weather, or the plague of grasshoppers that signals the beginning of the end.” — Roger Ebert