Remembering Sam Shepard: Days of Heaven
Foyle Film Festival will pay tribute to the late Sam Shepard whose untimely death in late July caused great sadness in the worlds of theatre and cinema
A special screening of Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, in which Sam Shepard made his screen debut. This 1978 film is justly celebrated for its painterly images of rural landscapes and the evocative musical score by Ennio Morricone. A Greek tragedy plays out in the wheat fields of Texas with Sam Shepard in the role of the farmer, a brooding, enigmatic figure who remains a mystery throughout.
Won an Oscar®
STEPHEN REA AND JUDITH RODDY READ THE SHORT STORIES OF SAM SHEPARD
Sam Shepard and Stephen Rea were lifelong friends, working together since the early 70s, when Stephen played the role of Cody in Sam’s experimental play, Geography of a Horse Dreamer.
Sam wrote several plays for Stephen that were premiered at the Abbey Theatre including the one–man tour–de–force, Kicking A Dead Horse in 2007. The two friends appeared on screen together in the western Blackthorn (2011) in which Sam played an aged and grizzled Butch Cassidy, hiding out in Bolivia, pursued by his nemesis, a Pinkerton detective played by Stephen.
What was to be their final collaboration came during Derry’s year as City of Culture. Stephen approached Sam to write a new play to be premiered at the Playhouse, which would then travel to New York. A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations) with Stephen Rea in the lead role of Oedipus was one of the triumphs of the City of Culture year. The two friends reunited exactly one year later in November 2014 for the Off–Broadway premiere of A Particle of Dread at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box theatre in New York.
As well as being one of the twentieth century’s greatest dramatists, Sam Shepard was a brilliant chronicler of the tragi–comic and the surreal in his short story collections, Hawk Moon, Motel Chronicles, Cruising Paradise, Great Dream of Heaven and Day out of Days.
Stephen Rea and Judith Roddy read from the short stories of Sam Shepard.
“Days Of Heaven is above all one of the most beautiful films ever made. Malick’s purpose is not to tell a story of melodrama, but one of loss… He evokes the loneliness and beauty of the limitless Texas prairie.”
- Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com