Monday, 25 June 2012

The Gripping Visual of Terrence Malick


With last week’s article about Terrence Malick and Levent Semerci I thought I’d just make an article about Malick.  Not many people can grasp the characteristic of Terrence Malick’s work. At times people say his work is very pretentious, plot-less but I see his work as a documentary of life through different events and time. In these events of war, discovery and self-reflection Terrence’s films are somewhat of a spiritual experience. If we have look at “Tree Of Life" it’s a visually stunning and beautiful film of evolution and religion entwined with family values and loss of innocence. Watching “The Thin Red Line” you see the horrors of war but through the perspective of Privet Witt. Recollecting on the times of being missing, living deep in the forest with a tribe reconciling himself with nature. Looking at other films like “A New World” nature has always been a key connection to religion and the world. One can even say the universe after watching Tree Of Life. There’s always a spiritual figure in his films almost God like but depends on viewers perception. I personally see his films as a mixture of; nature, life, spiritually and a reconciliation of one’s inner self.

The Tree of Life
In all Malick’s films there’s always an element of love shown in an unconventional way. In The Tree of Life we see Jack O’Brien (Sean Penn) battle origins of the meaning of life based on the childhood memories of living with his family in the 50s, growing up in a religious house hold with an austere farther and a very emotionally connected mother. Malick uses Jacks parents as a guide to love and hate; love being his mother and hate his father. We also see a battle of belief and questioning higher powers when Jacks friend drowns in a pool and another is burned in a house fire. In The Tree of Life we are constantly reminded of divine grace but Malick somehow mixes grace and nature and with them there seems to be a realistic view of humankind and nature being bone together. Just like his other films there always seems to be connection with life and the protagonists. Each character is tied to certain events of the film and at that moment they seem to be so connected with it that time goes by. This is most often shown with a time lapse sequence of; days, months and even years gone by.  Time is always a figure in Malick’s films. In The Thin Red Line we are constantly reminded of the past with Witt and his wife. As the war goes on we see privet Witt yearn to return to his wife but later learn she has found someone else and want a divorce. Tree of Life we are sent back and forth through Jacks present life working as an architect to his childhood.  


The Thin Red Line
I feel that watching Malick’s films I have some connection with him on a human level and I have that with no other director. Each film to me seems like an autobiography of his life; him going to war; being the first white man to encounter the natives and Tree of life being his actual biography. Jack and Malick have very similar connections; Malick has lost a brother at a young age just like Jacks older brother, a feeling of loss of innocence in both their life, the film was shot in the same town they both grew up in Waco, Texas. His artistic imagery and directorial style never cease to amaze me and even after re-watch his films the gripping visual that he creates makes watching his films somewhat of a religious experience.

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