Monday, June 14, 2010

The Tree of Life

 Terence Malick

The Tree of Life will be Terence Malick's fifth feature film in four decades of film-making.  He's been making it for several years now and it will feature Sean Penn and Brad Pitt with a story set in the 1950's, although we know very little about the plot.  Due later this year. 

I like writers and directors who spend a lot of time making their films and for Malick that time is spent in meticulous story crafting and attention to every detail.  He makes beautiful, meditative films about our lives, our distortions and the natural world around us.  I especially like that he weaves images of animals, birds and insects into his narratives as metaphors for the things we experience in our human lives.  This is a kind of re-enchantment that is missing in our modern culture and of which I intend to write a lot more about in the future.  He always uses a narrator who is one of his characters in his films which give them another perspective and eliminates the need for dialogue that would take away from the photography.  I watched Days of Heaven again last night with Sam Shepard, Richard Gere and Brooke Adams set at the start of the century, before the Great War.  I found myself wishing for a simpler life without complications, as do those portrayed in the film.  The characters find the best they can hope for is to continue the life they have and accept the way things are.

The other feature films Malick has crafted are Badlands,  The Thin Red Line and  The New World.

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