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Arts & Entertainment
NYT: 'New World' first necessary film of 2006

"Birds and passion still soar in the latest version of "The New World," Terrence Malick's rapturously beautiful telling of the founding of Jamestown and the Indian princess called Pocahontas. Released for Academy Award consideration on Dec. 25 in three theaters, two in Los Angeles and one in New York, the period film with Colin Farrell, Christian Bale and the sensational newcomer Q'orianka Kilcher, originally ran a luxuriant 150 minutes and played until Jan. 2. Today, a 135-minute edition opens across the country, immediately making "The New World" the first necessary film of this young year.

Francis Ford Coppola re-edited "Apocalypse Now" two decades after its original release, and so-called directors' cuts have become a standard if at times dubious DVD attraction (one "Pearl Harbor" is bad enough), but the idea of a filmmaker taking another pass at his film so soon after its opening sounds unprecedented. It's not. Stanley Kubrick cut 19 minutes from "2001: A Space Odyssey" after it opened and a whopping 26 minutes from "The Shining" while it was still in theaters, trimming its original 146 minutes to 144 and then 120. D. W. Griffith cut prints of "Intolerance" at the theaters where the epic was playing during its first run and sometimes incorporated newly shot material into films already in release.

Mr. Malick has not shot any new material for his latest and fourth feature, but those returning to the film may notice changes in the voiceover narration and a somewhat tightened tempo. The most noticeable alterations are in the first section after Capt. John Smith (Mr. Farrell) and the rest of the Jamestown founders have dropped anchor off what is now Virginia. The most conspicuous addition is a bit of exposition that finds the leader of the voyage (played by Christopher Plummer) summarizing who and why the travelers are there, which may prove helpful to anyone walking in cold or to those who slept through high school history. It's a whiff of convention in a film that otherwise still overwhelmingly hews its own aesthetic course."

Get the Story:
A Briefer Account of Jamestown's Founding (The New York TImes 1/20)

aRelevant Links:
The New World -

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