The Natural Structure
Malick’s approach provides a masterpiece of cinematic art that most commercial moviegoers prefer to avoid. The quality of impermanence binds his lyrics and divides many audiences. In his last two elegy works, namely The New World and The Thin Red Line, the way the film is difficult for people to understand always drives the public away. It always relies on emotional interpretation and more than a direct narrative.
However, Malick continues his long snippet of the visual without dialogue, where a voice-over whisper accompanies The Tree of Life. It requires curiosity as well as patience from the audience. More than Kubrick’s, careful investigation of the progress of mankind, Malick presents his questions in an impressionistic style. Therefore, people should understand the natural structure. When it comes to Kubrick, the effect is no different from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
It is a film where critics and audiences will always compare in terms of contagion. Intuitive yet primal, the film explores the relationship between memory, nature, and time. It is the director’s most graceful endeavor, an insight that he fills with philosophical introspection, beautiful imagery, and self-reflection on God. Such an experience still cannot be expressed by people. The enigmatic and captivating director considers a boy’s education in 1950s Texas to the creation of the Earth.
It poses a question, infecting viewers with spiritual echo and the beauty of the synopsis in the fifth feature of a 50-year career span.
The Law of Devotion
For such reasons, the law that creates all things in nature is beyond the limits of human understanding. Such “things” that humans often encounter do not describe themselves. Like time or space and trees or rocks, compositions and poetry and films such as Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Malick’s The Tree of Life do not entertain or even convince the audience. On the other hand, the works of artists such as such things are not meant to copy the pious.
It never existed but for the sake of imitating nature thus involving active discovery in the active work of imagination. Both Kubrick and Malick brought their audience closer to the essential surprise. They lead the audience in searching for a question without an answer so that it becomes an object of contemplation. Both films produce a new thing, unlike anything else in nature.
It acts like progress but separates from it. In short, Malick creates a working environment for his actors, constructing in the editing room. He intends to replace both performance and text ideas with pure behavior. For him, people purify and intensify imitation of nature in such a way that it becomes an act of devotion.
The Birth of Cosmic
Malick’s collection of visuals required at least five editors and three years. It is useful for uniting and creating amazing and intense symphonies. By being an image that the director visualizes in his head, it’s long before putting it into the film. Besides being similar to visual poetry, it also cannot be denied that people influence it. What Malick achieved were an echo and an eruption. He is always provocative yet mysterious in all of his works.
Trumbull, the creator of special effects from 2001: A Space Odyssey, turned the director’s attention to cosmic birth. Part of Trumbull designs in consulting biological and astronomical images. It makes the audience witness the dawn of time. Matter unites in forming planets until the gas mass becomes exfoliated but forms itself. Primordial liquid bubbles until a volcanic explosion erupts in the darkness.
Moments of affection between dinosaurs and cells combine to form a whole organism. In such a case, jellyfish and sea animals began to fill the ocean. Once again, Malick settled back into the O’Brien residence, comfortably in Texas. He looks beyond Jack’s teenage years and his long-standing conflict with his father. He is a head of duty with a square jaw, diverted by his children because of his dream.
Therefore, it responds with fatherly antagonism. Through such transitions, Malick revives the universe in place of O’Brien’s tragedy. He purposely barely breaks his character into perspective. By showing how inconsequential yet misguided death is, the transcendence of love is turned away all the time.
The Wind Done Gone
As a person, Malick always used to describe the works of art that he liked. He doesn’t “care” about his audience as impersonal. However, that leaves him only half way through. Regardless, he tries to get himself out of such things as much as possible. In a painting allegory, such an object itself has a kind of religious admiration. The involvement of artists who are committed to his material always goes on.
In other words, in-depth, it can only start with personal. Elsewhere, mysteriously, it is impersonal but no one can call its name. In all of Malick’s films, apart from the most powerful being The Tree of Life, everything speaks. The wind, the meteor that fell to the earth, the candlelight, the front yard, the body of a newborn baby, the self-calculation of a father, the body of a drowning child, and the beginning of life to the end of time began to speak.
Each image speaks mystery, stunning from its existence to resonating yet emitting in sync with the mind of what the film is about. It is a fact that comparing Malick to other artists is a difficult but not impossible comparison.
The Path of Grace and Nature
Most of Malick’s films, it is often narrated about people trying to understand humanity’s place in the world. It always relates a relationship with nature, religious beliefs, and human existence itself. The director opens his film with a quote from the Book of Job about contemplation of God’s search for his servant. He asked where they were when they needed him in every sense. In the next sequence, a formation of light began to rotate on the screen.
The image gives way to the setting of Waco, Texas in the 1950s. Jack, the eldest of three boys in the O’Brien family personifies two paths through life. The first path through their mother represents the path of grace. She plays a luminous figure full of unconditional love. The second path is through a father who dominates and represents pure nature. He plays an unforgiving and demanding force.
Mrs. and Mr. O’Brien learn that one of Jack’s brothers has died at the age of 19. They jump further ahead, questioning why God took him and what his death means. In the future, Jack wanders his executive office with difficulty. Fully middle-aged, he couldn’t find an understanding between his past life and current times.
The Majesty of Malick
Malick’s fascination with physical space, broadly speaking, can be equated with David Lean. However, in all other respects, the two artists were in different worlds. When it comes to acting, the director always takes the time to adjust the actor swap to small seconds. In contrast to directors in general, Malick created the right work environment for his actor. He seeks to reconstruct the space that is useful in building the right idea of performance and text with pure behavior.
Tarkovsky and Bergman are two examples of the same spiritual artist. However, the consideration of each trademark is a bit far from the “majesty” of Malick’s perspective. Not that both directors are more than Malick himself. In such a case, admiration and majesty, for example, place Malick a little bit with Kubrick. However, the space that was full of silence yet vast ended up becoming terrifying and even more terrifying.
Kubrick’s films, it is humorous. Malick has always been terrified with gratitude and a sense of wonder at one time. Maybe, that’s why people always refer to him as a childish director. The work that supports Malick’s formation is always determined by the swaying pull and gravity of consciousness itself. In his cinema, his film takes place in a temporal but spatial framework. It moves according to the pulse and has the elasticity of human consciousness.
The American Arthouse Idealism
Lubezki, the cinematographer of Malick, is always on the move in search of answers as the audience and the characters do. A wide-angle lens enhances such things and takes an unconventional perspective. The unique camera positioning echoes Malick’s ongoing cinematic investigation. Beautiful inverted images make the shadows look like the optimistic spirit of children is just one small example.
Therefore, the restless approach familiarizes Malick fans like a recurring image of flowing water. It acts as a ray of light peeking through the trees and has a great metaphorical meaning. It is as if the film is trying to introduce the audience to a subtle place in the universe. The light blocks the material and leaves many filters through the light. It sees the world through the human physique and the smaller problems of humanity.
The physical presence of humans in all of creation brings about the kind of understanding that Malick achieves in the film’s final scene. The soul pool is on the shore from a purely technical point of view. People are reunited with their loved ones who previously left. Malick’s productions, spectacularly, see beautiful scenes in nature. He describes the most sublime fauna and flora. On the other hand, Fisk, Malick’s production designer since The Thin Red Line, breathes life into his vision of the American arthouse ideal.
However, Jack’s anxiety and frustration come when the “violence” shocks American ideals. In essence, Malick does not shy away from the worse but natural aspects of humanity.
Godard and Days of Heaven
In addition to The Thin Red Line, Malick’s works such as Days of Heaven were in the possession of Texas in the early 20th century. Texas suburbs that the film never mentions by name always understand geographic location as the dot. It plays the role of a larger universe. The moment after moment exists in eternity, it is difficult or not difficult to know how much time has passed between scenes.
Between shoot and cut, the world is reborn, and new and proves Malick to be one of the unrivaled narrative filmmakers. When it comes to comparisons as well, Godard is also one of the triggers in all comparisons. However, his point of view is purely existential, substantive yet deeply spiritual. Days of Heaven has a greater focus on human effort and passion. It engages in gruesome calculations, made by itinerant farm laborers.
Despite already on the run from the law, he encourages his lover in giving up on the advancement of the wealthy peasants. In the film, Malick constantly redirects the attention of the audience and his character. He attempted to point both of them towards the magic and greater power of light. He shattered the scorching flames while leaping across the sky above the vast space.
- Barnett, C. B. (2013). Spirit (uality) in the Films of Terrence Malick. Journal of Religion & Film, 17(1), 33.
- Eggert, B. (2011). The Tree of Life (2011). Deep Focus Review.
- Patterson, H. (2007). The cinema of Terrence Malick: poetic visions of America. Columbia University Press.
- Plate, S. B. (2012). Visualizing the Cosmos: Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life and Other Visions of Life in the Universe. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 80(2), 527-536.