"The New World" Conundrum

Okay… I’m stuck.

Most critics groups, and the Oscars, will consider Terrence Malick’s “The New World” a 2005 release, because it screened for some critics a few weeks ago.

But the final cut, which is much shorter, includes footage that wasn’t in the longer cut, and is apparently quite a different film altogether, was just finished a few days ago… in 2006.

So what do I do?

Is this my favorite film of 2005… which it is, if it must be listed as a 2005 release?

Or shall I go ahead and call it a 2006 film… in which case it’s very likely I’ve just seen my favorite film of 2006?

My full review will be at Christianity Today Movies on Friday.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has relaunched a bigger, better version of this blog at LookingCloser.org. The new Looking Closer doesn't have any of the trashy click-bait advertisements that you're probably seeing all over this Patheos page. So give yourself a break.

  • Ellen Collison

    Yes, but some people threw a fit about the filming anyway. But they were able to make it, despite the controversy.

  • Matt Page

    IIRC though, that film was filmed entirely from Mohammed’s Point of View, thus not breaking that command.


  • Ellen Collison


    I misread your comment completely – my apologies! I’m not at all sure what these guys at Al Azhar are trying to accomplish, but I do know many Muslims believe that prophets should not be portrayed. Still, there have been movies like Mohammed, Messenger of God – this was quite popular, and I’m sure many people enjoy it still.

    The bottom line is that some radical Islamists are attempting to force everyone to toe their line; also that governments in ME countries are letting many of these people get away with outrageous things in order to deflect criticism from the said governments. If the people who hold political power are, in any way, threatened by the radical Islamists, my guess is that you’ll see them act, and fast. (The Egyptian government has made no bones about this in the past.)

  • Ellen Collison

    Less like trying to balance “stances” and more like no nuance to the original news item – it’s a faction from Al Azhar that’s trying to stop this movie, not all Egyptian Muslims, and certainly not *all* Muslims.

  • Michael Rew

    The JESUS Film Project already has several translations of the film in Arabic. The dubbing for the Japanese version is so convincing, it is hard not to laugh when watching European and Middle Eastern actors look like they speak fluent Japanese with perfect accents.

  • RC

    very interesting conversation here…it’s almost like there trying to create balance to their stance. Or using old stances to try to demonstrate consistency.

    –RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Don’t forget the controversy over Egyptian director Youssef Chahine‘s The Emigrant, which was loosely based on the story of Joseph and his many-coloured coat. Chahine changed all the names and everything, but Muslims opposed to the depiction of the prophets still protested. Hence, Chahine’s next film, Destiny, was all about Muslim fundamentalists — medieval fundamentalists, true, but one of the points of his film was that the decline of Muslim civilization and many of Islam’s current problems stem back to that era.

  • Ellen Collison

    Thanks, Jeffrey!

  • Ellen Collison

    Yikes – I meant “no,” not “not.” (Oh well…)

  • Ellen Collison

    Err… some Muslims say “not.” Not all.

    BIG difference, though not to the US media.

  • Jared Wilson

    I faced the same conundrum when I saw “Born into Brothels” on your top 10 list for 2005 since I recall it winning an oscar for 2004.

    (Most of my responses to you are critical – and I appologize. I truly love your blog. Right now it is among just 7 other links in my bookmark toolbar…)

  • Foolish Knight

    Ooh, tough question. Have you seen the new version? Which one is the one you fell in love with? Maybe you could treat it as two different movies and put it at the top of both lists (with a disclaimer).

    But seriously, I wish I had problems like this. I haven’t even seen enough films from 2005 to make a “Top Ten” list from that year. (Of course ,not that anyone really wants me to.)