I watched the re-cut The New World Saturday night and was knocked out, not just by the movie but by the circumstances. This was my third viewing of a version of the film, but my first time seeing it with a paying audience. It was unbelievably intense, but in the best way, possibly one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had in a movie theater. I’m still gathering my thoughts, though—I don’t want to rush into this one—so look for a full post late Sunday or sometime Monday.
Nutshell verdict: a different, more streamlined, slightly more prosaic and linear New World than I saw back in December, more clearly focused on Pocahantas/John Smith/John Rolfe, with less of a Transcendental, One World vibe. But still a knockout; different from, but equal to, the other cut; and most importantly, irrefutable proof that entertainment and art are not mutually exclusive. (The nearly sold out, racially and ethnically diverse audience at Brooklyn Academy of Music was divided on the movie’s merits, but during the re-cut’s 136 minutes, they barely stirred and almost never spoke, even in a whisper. It was so quiet in there that when somebody five rows down ate a piece of popcorn, you could hear them chewing.) I liked this movie’s muscularity, its simplicity. Where the previous cut reminded me of The Thin Red Line, this one felt more like Days of Heaven.
More later. For now, I’m going to go all bloggy on you and offer photos of my niece Ivana, as promised long ago in another post. That’s Ivana’s hand in my brother Jeremy’s hand. The group shot is of Ivana, Jeremy and my sister-in-law Valentina.
Matt Zoller Seitz is the founder of The House Next Door.