"The Orchid in the Land of Garbage: an Ecocritique of Terrence Malick's Film Badlands (1973)"

Blasi, Gabriella | from Multimedia Library Collection:

Blasi, Gabriella. “The Orchid in the Land of Garbage: an Ecocritique of Terrence Malick’s Film Badlands (1973).” Environmental Humanities 5, no. 1 (2014): 55-75. doi:10.1215/22011919-3615415.

Through a figural analysis of Terrence Malick’s Badlands (1973), this paper seeks to contribute to a more defined role of film criticism in contemporary environmental thought. The analysis focuses on the relation between humans and nature in Badlands and revolves around the ontological question of what it means to be free human beings in the world of nature, intended as a finite, temporal world. From an ecocritical perspective, Badlands’ 1950s setting lends itself to a retrospective illumination of the forces that have contributed to the present problematic human-nature relation within “free” capitalist systems of thought and consumption. However, a figural analysis reveals that Malick’s insistence on images of waste and death assumes a far more existential value, opening up possible deeper reflections beyond economic, social and political critiques. (Text from author’s abstract)

© Gabriella Blasi 2014. Environmental Humanities is available online only and is published under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).