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By Robert Nozick

During this superb and commonly acclaimed booklet, winner of the 1975 nationwide e-book Award, Robert Nozick demanding situations the main quite often held political and social positions of our age—liberal, socialist, and conservative.

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Where does it come from? This flame in us. ’ As the narrative moves towards its conclusion, these two sentiments are tested in Witt. At twilight he walks through a native village, but unlike the opening sequence, he encounters fear and conflict among the villagers. His narration brings questionings and doubts to his mind, like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his crucifixion. He talks about people as a family that had to break up, ‘each standing in the other’s light’. He asks, ‘How did we lose the good that was given us?

1979: 245). Is Kit’s compulsion to speak then an over-compensatory measure on his part for the fact that he actually has little of great interest or import to say? If we see communication as a way of trying to make people understand then his attempts at it are not terribly successful: he does not really communicate very much when he speaks. As Brian Henderson points out, however, ‘Much of the conversation in the film is phatic communication – empty of content, concerned with maintaining contact and keeping the channel of communication open’ (1983: 40).

From the point of view of the film, it requires a transformation of thought, which none of the English characters, including John Smith, finally prove capable of accomplishing because of the cultural, religious, social and political baggage they bring to Virginia with them. indd 22 THE CINEMA OF TERRENCE MALICK 28/7/07 11:23:06 am The means the film uses to explore this issue focuses on the character of Pocahontas and, in a correlative way, on that of John Smith. The love story of Pocahontas and Smith constitutes the principal narrative thread of the film, and in a metaphoric way, its principal signifier.

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