Wednesday, July 10th*, 6:00pm. Address given with RSVP. * Film is third Wednesday for June only. The Tree of Life –– US Terrence Malick 2hr, 50 min (Malick has redone
Wednesday, July 10th*, 6:00pm. Address given with RSVP. * Film is third Wednesday for June only.
The Tree of Life –– US Terrence Malick 2hr, 50 min
(Malick has redone this film. It is a bit longer but I will show it if possible.)
I have a hard time discussing this film, which reaches for a grand conception of the universality of life and links it with exquisite emotional intelligence to it to an exploration of the life of a family in the Waco, Texas suburbs of the 1950s. Two things throw me off with this film. The first is that, as a core member of the International Ocean Film Festival for the past 16 years, I have seen over 1,000 films on nature and the oceans, so the opening scenes of lava flowing into the sea, or crashing waves do not dramatically affect me; the second is that the time period in which we see the family in their near bucolic suburb mirrors the time in my life when I lived in a similar setting in Connecticut. My brother and I wore T-shirts like the ones the two key brothers wear in this film, and I had deep conflicts with my father as the oldest boy, Jack has with his father (Brad Pitt). On the other hand, that does not account for the intensity of feelings in that family that Malick captures: it is extraordinary and profoundly moving and accomplished through emotional sensitivity and pitch perfect cinematography and editing. Pitt and his wife (Jessica Chastain) are superb, as, in an odd role, is Sean Penn, as the adult Jack. The young Jack (Hunter McCracken) and his younger brother, R.L. (Laramie Eppler) are miraculously natural and moving as children figuring out how to live with each other and in their world, a credit to both Malick and his extraordinary cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki.
I saw this film twice within a week and each time found myself gasping at the emotional rightness of a particular shot or sequence––of Jessica Chastain waking the boys up by putting ice cubes down their backs; of the boys throwing a football over the house in summer and racing to see who could get it first; of how Brad Pitt holds his infant second son. It’s not just the incidents, wonderful in themselves, but how they are shot to capture the range and complexity of human feelings, even the most subtle, that they reveal.
The critical––and audience––response to this film was mixed. Mine was too, as I have said, but the middle of the film, the long section on the family, contains some of the most deeply moving and emotionally intelligent cinema I have ever seen.
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(Wednesday) 6:00 pm - 8:50 pm