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Posted on 8/30/12 09:17 PM
To call Terrence Malick a filmmaker would only be describing him halfway. Terrence Malick made a film that is itself hardly a film, as much as an experience. This is why it was met with so much backlash: it is not singular, it is all encompassing. There are sequences and moments of childhood, of death, of adulthood, of despair, of misery, of love, of compassion, of hope, of life. To understand it all is impossible. To understand it all would be to God, or at least have seen His face.
Moments in the film are forever bold: the image of Jessica Chastain floating through the air, the brief cutaway to sand blowing through the desert at a seemingly random point while watching the family, the images of the first moments of the universe.
The cinematography is never boring: it moves like a camera has never moved before. You will not remember the film all at once. It plays like memories: I can only say that the present in the film is Sean Penn contemplating life: he remembers childhood, he conjures up ideas of what had happened when his mother found out his brother had died - which explains why they still look the same as when he was a child. He thinks about all of existence. The mind wanders.
Too many have been offended by a innocent film. The Tree of Life is infinitely accessible; you are supposed to pull out what you want. You are supposed to not know, but feel at first, and then you will know. Do not be afraid to allow the film to touch you, for only then have you failed to understand it.
The Tree of Life was released in 2011. It was directed by Terrence Malick.