Asking a colleague how anyone could encapsulate the exquisite, earthy poetry of Terrence Malick’s cinema in a mere 180 words, he responded: ‘It’s easy! “Blah, blah, magic hour. Blah, blah, voiceover. Blah, blah, the awesome power of nature. Hyperbolic sign off”.’ Fans of the director’s small but perfectly formed oeuvre will know that these are all indeed typical Malick motifs. But fans will also know that they were put to their most sublimely sensuous and conveniently approachable use in ‘Days of Heaven’, his peach-hued masterwork from 1978 which opens ahead of the BFI’s full Malick retrospective. Richard Gere and Brooke Adams take time out from life to frolic in the swaying wheatfields of the Texas Panhandle, hawkishly overseen by Sam Shephard’s tragic Jay Gatsby figure who eventually lets his suspicions get the better of him. Theirs is a tale of almost biblical profundity: a furtive love allowed to bloom momentarily in this glowing, golden paradise before commerce, responsibility, law and violence put a heartbreaking end to their innocent bliss. Visually and thematically, it’s still one of the most beautiful films ever made.