On Malick's Thin Red Line

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brianedwards
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On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:51 am

On Malick's Thin Red Line

Ignore the men in the floating steel crate,
the blaze of sun on the crest of a hill,
palm trees smeared with human blood, flattened
fields of ripened wheat, the sway of kunai grass
or the aboriginal face of innocence.

Focus on the butterfly folded in the reeds,
whose flight path is about to pass
the camera's lens as soldiers glide
through sniper fire. Not serendipity,
he's trained and highly skilled, listening
to artillery fire, waiting for his cue.









~

Suzanne
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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by Suzanne » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:42 am

Ooo. Its like an opening movie scene! Very vivid.
Action and stillness within two stanzas, well done.

Then i looked up Malick. Ah, excellent tribute, B.


Suzanne

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by ray miller » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:50 am

No idea what the title means. I see Suzanne looked it up - what a swot! I like the 2nd stanza but I wonder if you need the first - it makes it a bit Ah, Grasshopper...
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:26 am

Shame on both of you for not knowing what the title referred to. See me after school.

:roll:

Thanks muchly both of yer. Hadn't anticipated either of your responses actually, feeling it was pretty straight forward stuff. Hmmm.

Glad you got there with the help of a The Big G Suzanne, but also saddens me a little. Hmmm.

B.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:47 am

Btw Ray, wot's Ah Grasshopper? Is it Kung fu?

B.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by ray miller » Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:01 pm

brianedwards wrote:Btw Ray, wot's Ah Grasshopper? Is it Kung fu?

B.
There was a TV programme in the 70s, I can't remember what it was called. I think David Carradine was in it and the wise old priest would always preface some interminable parable with Ah, Grasshopper.....It might have been called Kung Fu. Having now googled the title, I see what you're up to and I was being unfair, but I'm not by any means a film fan. Or a great fan of line 5 in this poem. Is that something integral to the film?
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:05 pm

It's a fairly well known image from the film, for those who know the film.

B.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by David » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:20 pm

I haven't seen it. I should. I'd like to. Not sure whether that disqualifies comment on the poem or not.

Just sticking to film crit for the moment, isn't the butterfly and the sniper a seminal moment in All Quiet on the Western Front as well? I should compare and contrast them.

Cheers

David

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by HenryBones » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:54 pm

The film is rotten. I fell asleep for an hour part way through and when I woke up nothing had changed! The poem, however, is superb. In fact, the second stanza is enough to make me think I should just pack up and go home, absolutely wonderful stuff, thanks for posting.

Best,

HB

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by Suzanne » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:59 pm

HenryBones wrote:?.... the second stanza is enough to make me think I should just pack up and go home, absolutely wonderful stuff, thanks for posting

Yeah. That.

Ticks me off and thrills me.
There. That is my deep crit.

DCMS

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by blackpanther » Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:07 pm

i've not seen the film.

but the second stanza says it all. a snipers eye view as he lies totally still and quiet as does the butterfly, just waiting for their moment to strike.

it's got a contented tranquility to it - like the calm before a storm hits.

really enjoyed the imagery :)

donna

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:54 pm

The Thin Red Line is the only English language film of the last 25 years that I'd put on my personal list of all time greats. (Three Colours: Blue, City of God and Pan's Labyrinth are the others)

Thanks for all the engagement. Now go and watch the film, all of you. Philistines.

:roll:

B.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:54 pm

I've just been informed that Guadalcanal does not have heather. Huh.

B.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:03 pm

Haven't seen the movie, Brian, but I enjoyed the poem.
I'll put that one on my must watch list.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:23 pm

Thanks JJ.

Replaced the heather with landscapes for now until I finish my degree in South Pacific botany and can offer something more specific.

B.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by Suzanne » Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:22 am

Well, landscapes won't do.

It is like jamming a javelin into a beautiful boat.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:47 am

How about palm trees instead?

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by Suzanne » Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:18 am

Do i recall you using tips? Just heather tips?

I liked the heather tips in my private screening of the scene. I understand if there is no heather in the place but just replace that one word and not the image of blood tipped foliage.

It has to do with where the readers imaginary eye goes. From heather tips to landscapes was a huge change... Now you have us looking up at the sky.


The beauty was that we were with snuggled up w the camera. You took us from a full screen and downwards into the still moment. I think you need to keep that in mind. Connect the dots in an even flow, down the hill not bouncing up and down.

This, of course, is just my opinion.

You envisioned a thing, mislabelled it heather, what is the correct name for THAT thing you saw?

Suzanne

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:34 am

I think it's probably kunai grass, which I use later, hence my problem.
Thinking on. Great notes, thanks.

B.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by SteveR » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:54 pm

I liked how you stated, "ignore," listing the large horrible things to ignore, followed by "focus on," bringing us in to a small intimate space within the context of the horror. WOW

This is one that is going into my archive of great poems. Amazing.

Steve

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by brianedwards » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:41 pm

Thank you Steve. With respect, I might suggest you have a lot of reading to do if your archive of "great poems" includes any of mine.

The encouragement is appreciated, of course (and the note on heather ;) )

B.

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by Macavity » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:22 pm

the sway of kunai grass
Enjoyed the exoticism of that B., may be a thought to add a similar touch in S2 - perhaps freshen the iconic butterfly image. Either way like the focus.

all the best

mac

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Re: On Malick's Thin Red Line

Post by Antcliff » Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:52 pm

Liked it, Brian. Like others, I thought the second stanza was the better one. In fact I wonder if it should be the opener? How about reversing the order of the stanzas because perhaps the second stanza may make a more engaging start? Of course I do not know the film and the order may reflect something important from the film.

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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