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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Pasona's Urban Farm the Farm to office desk ( Amazing Technology)


Forget farm to table, how about farm to office desk?
New York firm Kono Designs created the urban farm in 2010, in a nine-storey office building in Tokyo to allow employees to grow and harvest their own food at work. Dezeen spoke with company principal Yoshimi Kono this week to hear more about the project.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
"Workers in nearby buildings can be seen pointing out and talking about new flowers and plants and even the seasons – all in the middle of a busy intersection in Tokyo's metropolitan area," Kono told Dezeen. "The change in the way local people think and what they talk about was always one of the long-term goals of the project."
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
The creation of the new headquarters for Japanese recruitment firm Pasona consisted of refurbishing a 50 year old building to include office areas, an auditorium, cafeterias, a rooftop garden and urban farming facilities. Inside the 19,974 square metre office building there are 3995 square metres dedicated to green space that house over 200 species of plants, fruits, vegetables and rice.
Kono told Dezeen that all of the food is harvested, prepared and served on-site in the cafeterias - making Pasona's Urban Farm the largest farm-to-table office scheme in Japan.
Pasona employees are encourage to maintain and harvest the crops and are supported by a team of agricultural specialists.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
"My client has a larger vision to help create new farmers in urban areas of Japan and a renewed interest in that lifestyle," Kono told Dezeen.
"One way to encourage this is to not just tell urban communities about farms and plants, but to actively engage with them through both a visual intervention in their busy lifestyle and educational programs focusing on farming methods and practices that are common in Japan," he added.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
The building has a double-skin green facade where flowers and orange trees are planted on small balconies. From the outside, the office block appears to be draped in green foliage.
"The design focus was not on the imposed standards of green, where energy offsets and strict efficiency rates rule," said Kono. "But rather on an idea of a green building that can change the way people think about their daily lives and even their own personal career choice and life path."
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Inside the offices, tomato vines are suspended above conference tables, lemon and passion fruit trees are used as partitions for meeting spaces, salad leaves are grown inside seminar rooms and bean sprouts are grown under benches.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Plants hang in bags surrounding meeting desks and there are vines growing within vertical cages and wooden plant boxes around the building.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Ducts, pipes and vertical shafts were rerouted to the perimeter of the building to allow for maximum height ceilings and a climate control system is used to monitor humidity, temperature and air flow in the building to ensure it is safe for the employees and suitable for the farm.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
"It is important not to just think about how we can use our natural resources better from a distance, but to actively engage with nature and create new groups of people who have a deep interest and respect for the world they live in," said Kono.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
"It is important to note that this is not a passive building with plants on the walls, this is an actively growing building, with plantings used for educational workshops where Pasona employees and outside community members can come in and learn farming practices."
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Yoshimi Kono studied architecture in Tokyo and was a chief designer with Shigeru Uchida at Studio 80 in Tokyo and later became partner at Vignelli Associates in New York. He founded Kono Designs in 2000.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Plants growing on the outside and inside of buildings have been popular on Dezeen recently. Other features include the news that botanist Patrick Blanc has unveiled his latest green wall during Paris Design Week this week and we reported on Blanc's collaboration with French architect Jean Nouvel to create the world's tallest living wall in Sydney.

Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Photographs are courtesy of Kono Designs.
Here's a project description:

Pasona Urban Farm
Located in down-town Tokyo, Pasona HQ is a nine story high, 215,000 square foot corporate office building for a Japanese recruitment company, Pasona Group. Instead of building a new structure from ground up, an existing 50 years old building was renovated, keeping its building envelope and superstructure.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
The project consists of a double-skin green facade, offices, an auditorium, cafeterias, a rooftop garden and most notably, urban farming facilities integrated within the building. The green space totals over 43,000 square feet with 200 species including fruits, vegetables and rice that are harvested, prepared and served at the cafeterias within the building. It is the largest and most direct farm-to-table of its kind ever realised inside an office building in Japan.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
The double-skin green facade features seasonal flowers and orange trees planted within the 3' deep balconies. Partially relying on natural exterior climate, these plants create a living green wall and a dynamic identity to the public. This was a significant loss to the net rentable area for a commercial office. However, Pasona believed in the benefits of urban farm and green space to engage the public and to provide better workspace for their employees.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
The balconies also help shade and insulate the interiors while providing fresh air with operable windows, a practical feature not only rare for a mid rise commercial building but also helps reduce heating and cooling loads of the building during moderate climate. The entire facade is then wrapped with deep grid of fins, creating further depth, volume and orders to the organic green wall.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Within the interior, the deep beams and large columns of the existing structure are arranged in a tight interval causing low interior ceiling of 7'-6". With building services passing below, some area was even lower at 6'-8". Instead, all ducts, pipes and their vertical shafts were re-routed to the perimeter, allowing maximum height with exposed ceilings between the beams.
Lightings are then installed, hidden on the bottom vertical edge of the beams, turning the spaces between the beams into a large light cove without further lowering the ceiling. This lighting method, used throughout the workspace from second floor to 9th floor, achieved 30% less energy than the conventional ceiling mounted method.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Besides creating a better work environment, Pasona also understands that in Japan opportunities for job placement into farming are very limited because of the steady decline of farming within the country. Instead, Pasona focuses on educating and cultivating next generation of farmers by offering public seminars, lectures and internship programs.
The programs empower students with case studies, management skills and financial advices to promote both traditional and urban farming as lucrative professions and business opportunities. This was one of the main reason for Pasona to create urban farm within their headquarters in downtown Tokyo, aiming to reverse the declining trend in the number of farmers and to ensure sustainable future food production.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Currently, Japan produces less than one-third of their grain locally and imports over 50 million tons of food annually, which on average is transported over 9,000 miles, the highest in the world. As the crops harvested in Pasona HQ are served within the building cafeterias, it highlights 'zero food mileage' concept of a more sustainable food distribution system that reduces energy and transportation cost.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Japan's reliance on imported food is due to its limited arable land. Merely 12% of its land is suitable for cultivation. Farmland in Pasona HQ is highly efficient urban arable land, stacked as a vertical farm with modern farming technology to maximise crop yields.
Despite the increased energy required in the upkeep of the plants, the project believes in the long term benefits and sustainability in recruiting new urban farmers to practice alternative food distribution and production by creating more urban farmland and reducing food mileage in Japan.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Using both hydroponic and soil based farming, in Pasona HQ, crops and office workers share a common space. For example, tomato vines are suspended above conference tables, lemon and passion fruit trees are used as partitions for meeting spaces, salad leaves are grown inside seminar rooms and bean sprouts are grown under benches.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
The main lobby also features a rice paddy and a broccoli field. These crops are equipped with metal halide, HEFL, fluorescent and LED lamps and an automatic irrigation system. An intelligent climate control system monitors humidity, temperature and breeze to balance human comfort during office hours and optimise crop growth during after hours. This maximises crop yield and annual harvests.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Besides future sustainability of farmers, Pasona HQ's urban farm is beyond visual and aesthetic improvement. It exposes city workers to growing crops and interaction with farmland on a daily basis and provides improvement in mental health, productivity and relaxation in the workplace. Studies show that most people in urbanised societies spend over 80% of their time indoors. Plants are also known to improve the air quality we breathe by carbon sequestration and removing volatile organic compound. A sampling on the air at Pasona HQ have shown reduction of carbon dioxide where plants are abundant. Such improvement on the air quality can increase productivity at work by 12%, improves common symptoms of discomfort and ailments at work by 23%, reduce absenteeism and staff turnover cost.
Pasona Urban Farm by Kono Designs
Pasona Urban Farm by Kono Designs
Employees of Pasona HQ are asked to participate in the maintenance and harvesting of crops with the help of agricultural specialists. Such activity encourages social interaction among employees leading to better teamwork on the job. It also provides them with a sense of responsibility and accomplishment in growing and maintaining the crops that are ultimately prepared and served to their fellow co-workers at the building's cafeterias.
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm
Pasona Urban Farm is a unique workplace environment that promotes higher work efficiency, social interaction, future sustainability and engages the wider community of Tokyo by showcasing the benefits and technology of urban agriculture.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A dancing lady with a drum, at Belur, Karnataka, India.

The world's first solar panel-paved road has opened in a town in northern France.

The goal? To power the entire village. video
IT MAY be situated in a small French village that doesn’t see that much sun, but the Normandy town of Tourouvre has opened the world’s first solar roadway, bringing the hugely popular idea into reality.
The notion of paving roadways with solar panels to meet our energy needs is very appealing, but for the longest time, it has remained largely a theoretical one.
The newly launched French roadway is just one kilometer long but that works out to be 2800 square meters of photovoltaic cells — enough, theoretically, to power the village’s street lights.
The resin-coated solar panels were hooked up to the local power grid just in time for Christmas as France’s Environment Minister Segolene Royal looked on last week.
“This new use of solar energy takes advantage of large swathes of road infrastructure already in use ... to produce electricity without taking up new real estate,” she said in a statement.
The one-kilometer road is set to pave the way for to construction of much bigger solar highways in the future.
The minister announced a four-year “plan for the national deployment of solar highways” with initial projects in western Brittany and southern Marseille.
The idea, which is also under exploration in Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, is that roadways are occupied by cars only around 20 percent of the time, providing vast expanses of the surface to soak up the sun’s rays.
The simple idea bestowed a secondary — and equally important — purpose for roads by allowing them to double as an energy source.
But critics are still waiting to see how practical and cost-effective solar roads can be.

Incredible similarities!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Astronomers have found at least seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the same star 40 light-years away.

The NASA Announcement

This discovery outside of our solar system is rare because the planets have the winning combination of being similar in size to Earth and being all temperate, meaning they could have water on their surfaces and potentially support life.
This is the first time that so many planets of this kind are found around the same star.
The seven exoplanets were all found in tight formation around an ultracool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Estimates of their mass also indicate that they are rocky planets, rather than being gaseous like Jupiter. Three planets are in the habitable zone of the star, known as TRAPPIST-1e, f and g, and may even have oceans on the surface.
The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it.
The researchers believe that TRAPPIST-1f, in particular, is the best candidate for supporting life. It's a bit cooler than Earth but could be suitable for the right atmosphere and enough greenhouse gasses
What's next

Over the next decade, the researchers want to define the atmosphere of each planet, as well as to determine whether they truly do have liquid water on the surface and search for signs of life.
Although 40 light-years away doesn't sound too far, it would take us millions of years to reach this star system. But from a research perspective, it's a close opportunity and the best target to search for life beyond our solar system.

ஸ்பிட்செர் மூலம் புதிய கோள்களை நாசா கண்டுபிடித்தது. புதிதாக கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்ட 
7 கோள்களில் 3 கோள்கள் மனிதர்கள் வசிப்பதற்கு ஏற்ற இடம் உள்ளதாக நாசா 

பூமியை போலவே உயிர்கள் வாழக்கூடிய வேறு கிரகங்கள் உள்ளனவா என்ற 
ஆராய்ச்சியில் பல நாடுகளும் தொடர்ந்து ஈடுபட்டு வருகின்றன. வேற்றுகிரகத்தில் 
மனிதர்கள் வசிக்கிறார்களா என்பதை அறியும் ஆராய்ச்சியும் நடக்கிறது. இந்நிலையில், 
பூமியில் இருந்து 39 ஒளி ஆண்டுகள் தூரத்தில் 7 கோள்கள் இருப்பதை நாசா 
கண்டுபிடித்துள்ளது. ஸ்பிட்செர் மூலம் புதிய கோள்களை நாசா கண்டுபிடித்தது. 
புதிதாக கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்ட 7 கோள்களில் 3 கோள்கள் மனிதர்கள் வசிப்பதற்கு 
ஏற்ற இடம் உள்ளதாக நாசா தெரிவித்துள்ளது.

அங்கு மனிதர்கள் உயிர்வாழ்வதற்கான காற்று, நீர் இருப்பதற்கான வாய்ப்புகள் 
அதிகம் என நாசா விஞ்ஞானிகள் கருதுகின்றனர். மேலும், பூமியை போன்றே 
மேற்பரப்பும் அடர்த்தியும் காணப் படுகிறது. மிகுந்த வெளிச்சத்துடன் உள்ள 
இந்த கிரகங்களை இரவில் வெறும் கண்களாலேயே காண முடியும் என்று 
நாசா விஞ்ஞானிகள் கூறியுள்ளதாக தகவல்கள் தெரிவிக்கின்றன. 3 கோள்களில்
 நீர் ஆதாரம் இருப்பதையும் நாசா விஞ்ஞானிகள் கண்டுபிடித்துள்ளனர்.

முருகப்பெருமானை வணங்கிட :

இக வாழ்க்கையில் இருந்து கொண்டே இகவாழ்வின் கடமைகளை செய்து கொண்டு இகவாழ்வின் துணை கொண்டு ஆனால் இகவாழ்வினில் ஆழ்ந்து போகாமல் தண்ணீர் இலை தாமரை போல வாழ்ந்து பரவாழ்க்கைக்கான முயற்சிகளை தவறாது செய்து செய்து வெற்றி கண்டவன் தான் முருகப்பெருமான் என்பதையும், எந்த தேகம் காமத்திற்கு காரணமாக அமைகிறதோ இகவாழ்விற்கு துணையாய் அமைகிறதோ அந்த காமதேகமே பரவாழ்வாகிய ஞானத்தை அடையவும் காரணமாக அமைவதை அறிந்து காமக்கசடுடைய தேகமதை வெறுக்காமல் அந்த காமதேகத்தினை காமத்திற்கு பயன்படுத்தாமல் யோகத்திற்கு பயன்படுத்தியதோடு தேகத்தினுள் காமத்தீயை ஏற்படுத்தி தேகத்தை அழித்து பிறவி எடுக்காமல் யோகத்தீயை உண்டாக்கி தேகத்தை சுட்டு கசடு நீக்கி தூய்மையாக்கி ஞானதேகமாக மாற்றி, வெற்றி கண்டவன்தான் முருகப்பெருமான். அத்தகை வாய்ப்பினை மனித வர்க்கம் அறியாமல் மும்மலக் குற்றத்தின் வயப்பட்டு முன் வினை பாவங்கள் உந்தித் தள்ள காமமெனும் நரகக்குழியில் வீழ்ந்து பெற வேண்டிய பெரும் பேற்றை பெறாமல் வீணில் வாழ்வை வீணாக்குகின்றோம் என்பதையும் உணரலாம்.
எல்லாம் வல்ல தெய்வம் எம்பெருமான் முருகன் அருளினால் அவனது திருவடியைப் பற்றி மனமுருகி பூசித்தும் உயிர்க்கொலை தவிர்த்தும், புலால் மறுத்தும் சைவ உணவை மேற்கொண்டும் மாதம் ஒருவருக்கேனும் பசித்த ஏழைகளுக்கு பசியாற்றிவித்தும் தினம் தினம் மறவாமல் காலையில் ஒரு பத்து நிமிடமும் மாலையில் ஒரு பத்து நிமிடமும் முடிந்தால் இரவு பத்து நிமிடமும், முருகப்பெருமான் திருவடிகளைப் பற்றி,
“ஓம் முருகப்பெருமான் திருவடிகள் போற்றி!” என்றோ
“ஓம் சரவண பவ” என்றோ
“ஓம் சரவண ஜோதியே நமோ நம!” என்றோ

முருகனது திருமந்திரங்களை நாமஜெபமாக சொல்லி சொல்லி அவனது அருளைப் பெற வேண்டும்.
அப்படி எல்லாம் வல்ல முருகனது அருளைப் பெறாமல் எந்த விதத்திலும் நாம் ஞானத்துறையில் அணுவளவும் முன்னேற முடியாது என்பதையும் உணரலாம், உணர்ந்ததும் முருகனது திருவடிகளிலே “என் உள்ளம், உடல், பொருள், ஆவி அனைத்தும் முருகா உனது திருவடிகளே அர்ப்பணிக்கிறேன். பாவியாகிய எனது அர்ப்பணிப்பையும் ஏற்று உமது தொண்டருள் ஒருவராய் எம்மையும் ஏற்று அருள் செய்வாய் ஐயனே” என்றும், எல்லாம் வல்ல முருகா எம்பெருமானே! தாயினும் தயவுடை தனிப்பெருங்கருணையே! தயாநிதியே! தேவாதிதேவா! தேனே! தெள்ளமுதே! தெவிட்டா பேரின்பமே! என்றெல்லாம் அவனது பெருமைகளை கூறி கூறி அவனது அன்பை பெற்று அவனது பொன்னார் திருவடிகளே சரணாகதி என்றடைந்து சரணாகதி பெறுதல் வேண்டும்.
தாயினும் மேலான தயவுடை தெய்வமே முருகா! உனது அருளையெல்லாம் நான் கொள்ளையடிக்க வேண்டும். அதற்கு நீரே அருள் செய்திட வேண்டுமென்றே சகமார்க்க உரிமையினால் முருகனிடத்து வேண்டுகோள் வைப்பதுடன் நீ நானாக வேண்டும், நான் நீயாக வேண்டும் என்று, எல்லாம் அவனாக ஆக வேண்டுமென்றும் உயர்நிலை வேண்டுகோளை தவறாது மனமுருகி முருகனது திருவடிகளே சமர்ப்பித்து தவறாது நாத்தழும்பேற பூசித்து பூசித்து தொடர்ந்து வரவர முருகன் அருள் கூடி பலகாலம் படிப்படியாய் ஞானம் நம்முள் தோன்றி ஒரு கால பரியந்தத்தில் நாமும் நம் நாயகன் முருகனும் ஒன்றாகுதல் கூடும் என்பதையும் உணரலாம்.
களைய முடியா கலியுக களையை
களைவான் கந்தன் கருணை கொண்டே.

மகான் ஆறுமுக அரங்கமகாதேசிகர் சுவாமிகள்

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Om Sai Ram

Days of HEAVEN Movie

Bill (பில்) தன்னோட தங்கை மற்றும் காதலியோட வசிப்பவன்... யாரும் தப்பா நினைக்க கூடாதுன்னு காதலியையும் இன்னோரு தங்கைன்னே எல்லோருக்கும் சொல்லி வைத்திருப்பவன். ஊர் ஊராக சென்று கூலி வேலை செய்து பிழைக்கும் ஒரு நாடோடி.

ஏற்கனவே வேலை செய்யும் இடத்தில் சூபர்வைசரை அடித்து விட்டு மூவரும் ரயிலேறி வேறு இடம் செல்கிறார்கள்... அங்கு 20,000 ஏக்கரில் விவசாயம் செய்யும் ஒரு இளமையான பெரு முதலாளியின் பண்ணையில் நூற்றுக்கணக்கான வேலை ஆட்களோடு சேர்கிறார்கள்.

பில்லின் காதலியின் மேல் முதல் பார்வையிலேயே காதல் கொள்கிறார் முதலாளி... அவருக்கு ஏதோ ஒரு நோய் இருக்கிறது என்றும் அதனால் விரைவில் இறந்து விடுவார் என்றும் தெரிந்து கொள்ளும் பில் தன் காதலியை அவரை திருமணம் செய்து கொள்ள தூண்டுகிறான்...

திருமணத்திற்கு பின் என் அண்ணனும் தங்கையும் உடன் இருப்பார்கள் என சம்மதம் பெற்றுகொண்டு திருமணத்திற்கு சம்மதிக்கிறாள் அவள்... திருமணத்திற்கு பின் இவர்கள் இதுவரை அனுபவித்திராத ராஜ வாழ்க்கை கிடைக்கிறது.. இறந்து விடுவார் என நினைக்க திருமணத்திற்கு பின் ஆரோக்கியமாகவே இருக்கிறார் அவர்.

கணவன் மனைவி இருவருக்குள்ளும் அன்னியோன்யம் அதிகரிக்கிறது... அதே நேரம் பில்லுடனான காதலும் தொடர்கிறது ஆனால் இவர்கள் நடவடிக்கையில் சந்தேகம் கொள்கிறான் கணவன்... தன் காதலியை மற்றொருவனுடன் பார்ப்பதில் பில்லுக்கு விருப்பம் இல்லை... வன்மமும் க்ரோதமும் வளர்கிறது... முடிவில் என்ன ஆகிறது என்பதை The Days of Heaven சொல்கிறது...

1916'ல் நடந்ததாக சொல்லபடும் கதை 1978'ல் எடுக்கபட்ட படம்... இன்னும் ஃப்ரெஷாக இருக்கிறது... படம் கண்ணுக்கு அவ்வளவு தீனி போடுகிறது... பார்த்து முடித்தபின் விக்கியில்
படத்தை பற்றி தேடினால்.. சினிமாட்டோக்ராபிக்காக ஆஸ்கார் அடித்திருக்கிறது... 20,000 ஏக்கர் பண்னை, அவர் வீடு, அந்த கால ரயில், பனி விழும் பொழுதுகள், பண்ணை தீப்பிடிக்கும் காட்சி என செம படம் காட்டியிருக்கிறார்கள்.. கேமரா மேல் காதல் இருந்தால்... கண்டிப்பாக மிஸ் பண்ண கூடாத படம்.

Bill and Abby, a young couple who to the outside world pretend to be brother and sister are living and working in Chicago at the beginning of the century. They want to escape the poverty and hard labour of the city and travel south. Together with the girl Linda (who acts as the narrator in the movie) they find employment on a farm in the Panhandle, Texas. When the harvest is over the young, rich and handsome farmer invites them to stay because he has fallen in love with Abby. When Bill and Abby discover that the farmer is seriously ill and has only got a year left to live they decide that Abby will accept his wedding proposal in order to make some benefit out of the situation. When the expected death fails to come, jealousy and impatience are slowly setting in and accidents become eventually inevitable.
Release date: 1 November 1979 (Australia)
Director: Terrence Malick
Cinematography: Néstor Almendros
Screenplay: Terrence Malick
Awards: Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

To hell with equivocation or beating around the bush: Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven is the greatest film ever made. And let the word film be emphasized, since Malick's sophomore masterpiece earns this exalted designation from its position as a work of pure cinema, a concoction of sound and image so formally sumptuous and yet effortlessly poignant that, upon my first viewing as a high schooler, it completely shattered my previous preconceptions about the possibilities afforded by the art form. To an extent far greater than in 1973's exceptional Badlands, what Malick does in Days of Heaven is convey virtually everything of import through visual and sonic means, his tale, often denigrated as sketchy, left purposely simple and slender so that it might be elevated to the realm of timeless archetype via plaintive aestheticism. Malick's directorial gestures wholly meld with the story, as every dramatically tangential stare at the vast 1920 Texas panhandle landscape, like every montage set to Ennio Morricone's unbearably melancholic score, carries in it the narrative's mournful, tragic emotional essence. It is, ultimately, nothing more or less than the definitive proof of film's status as an inherently sensory medium.
Take, for example, the way Malick subtly uses a cutaway to a whirling rooftop wind gauge to signal impending danger for his central love triangle, between field laborer Bill (Richard Gere), his girlfriend-posing-as-his-sister Abby (Brooke Adams), and the wealthy, dying wheat magnet known only as Farmer (Sam Shepard) whom Abby marries as part of Bill's scheme to escape their indigent, migrant situation. Or his similar employment of a quick snapshot of stream water rolling over rocks to express the fleeting calm and peace felt by Bill and Abby during a clandestine nighttime rendezvous. And, also, his orchestration of Abby and Farmer's wedding night, in which the figurative distance between them is suggested by their relation to the camera (she facing the lens, he with his back to it), and the tender precariousness of their arrangement is communicated by Malick's subsequent shots of the mansion bedroom's exterior (its stained-glass window entwined with Farmer's preceding statement: “You're like an angel”) and a delicate leaf covered in droplets of dew. These superficially nonchalant moments are ecstatically evocative, and often enhanced by the unavoidable impression that capturing such seemingly artless images must have required near-Herculean determination and patience.
Days of Heaven's title is bibilical (a phrase taken from Deuteronomy 11:21) and so are the undercurrents of its plot, which charts Bill's flight from a hellish Chicago factory—after, in an act of original sin, he semi-accidentally murdered his foreman—to the expansive plains of Texas, a paradise of endless land and sky that, by film's conclusion, will itself be engulfed in a swarm of end-times locusts and roaring flames. Bill's kid sister, Linda (the wonderfully strange, unique Linda Manz), narrates this saga with references to God and Satan, but if the tale is told from her perspective, it's nonetheless an unreal, detached one, with Linda recounting events and anecdotes as if she had witnessed them from a remove, and been forced to imaginatively make up those portions from which she was denied firsthand access. The resultant atmosphere of simultaneous intimacy and disconnection is haunting, as well as harmoniously attuned to Malick's portrait of man's tense relationship with nature. Environment mirrors peoples' condition even as it remains unconcerned about their plight, at once prone to reflect their sadness in a storm cloud or their swelling peril in the sound of galloping horses, and yet just as likely to aloofly stand apart from them, such as in myriad shots of faceless silhouettes set against the sunset horizon.
Lyrical sorrow springs forth from Days of Heaven's paradoxical juxtaposition of poor, filthy, hungry humans with the majestically beautiful countryside, which in turn is given iconographic majesty by Néstor Almendros's Oscar-winning cinematography. Drenched in “magic hour” twilight (and frequently filmed with only natural illumination), his compositions have a lustrous quality both earthy and ethereal, veiling the action in an otherworldly glow that's nonetheless always rooted in the tangible feeling of its milieu. It is hard to think of a film more visually intoxicating, with Almendros's work so painterly and thrumming with vibrant, roiling life—not to mention innately entwined with Morricone's musical accompaniment, equally elegiac and alive—that it's difficult to fully appreciate it on first glance. This also holds true with regard to Malick's deftly suggestive editing. Just as the director is fond of transiently turning attention away from character-driven goings-on to glimpse a herd of buffalo or wheat fields swaying in the breeze, he frequently begins scenes midway through a tracking shot and ends them (sometimes with a cut to black, other times with a dissolve) before it's finished. The effect, of floating in and out of events like a visiting specter, is dreamlike.
Malick's post-production creativity is likewise responsible for the film's resonant emotional depth. Detractors' most familiar criticism—that everything is insufficiently dramatized—is in a certain, limited sense valid. However, Malick's story and characters are thinly conceived precisely because his intention is to impart sentiments and tensions through nonverbal channels. This is never clearer than with his handling of the cast's performances, which are habitually reduced by the director's edits to ephemeral motions and unheard statements. This isn't to say that the trio of Gere, Adams, and Shepard are utilized merely for their own physical beauty. Rather, it's simply to contend that our ability to recognize, and empathize with, their characters' passions is due largely to Malick's decision to strip scenes down to their bare, poignant essentials: Bill's wounded look upon realizing that Abby has fallen in love with Farmer; Farmer's taut visage upon witnessing a romantic exchange between Bill and Abby; and Farmer's eyes, full of desperation for love and companionship, as well as a desire for self-deception, when he asks his foreman/surrogate father (Robert J. Wilke), who's suspicious of Bill and Abby's motives, to leave the homestead.
As with Badlands and The New World (and, to some degree, The Thin Red Line), Days of Heaven fundamentally involves a transformative journey. Abby is forever reconfigured by her experience as the object of both wild Bill and safe Farmer's affections, and Malick's recurring motifs of movement—train rides, boat trips, wagon trains, flowing water, rolling clouds, cattle processions, and Linda's convivial strolls with an older friend (Jackie Shultis)—speaks to a prevailing notion of impermanence. More than the luxury that Farmer's wealth affords, it is stasis that brings Bill, Abby, and Linda their most joy during the halcyon middle section. And similarly, a sense of patience, of allowing things to unfold without hurry or any nagging requirement that straightforward narrative conventions be addressed, eventually helps bestow the film with its languorous poeticism. That cinema has the potential to overwhelm one's senses like no other art continues, 15-odd years and thousands of movies after my first introduction to Malick's oeuvre, to inspire this cinephile. And the fact that the director wholeheartedly fulfills that potential with this, his rapturous pièce de résistance, helps explain why it took 20 years to complete his follow-up: It's tough to top something this close to perfection.