what happened to Terrence Malick ?

Of The Tree of Life with To the wonder, Terrence Malick is past the splendid self-caricature. Decryption.

The Tree of Life the wonderful.

Six years after The New World, the american filmmaker Terrence Malick had made his return to the cinema in 2011 in a remarkable manner. A director which is no longer thought really but, that came like out of nowhere, to dazzle the Cannes film Festival who awarded him the Palme d’or for The Tree of Life. A work that, without claiming, was going to score, or even change a approach to cinema. The Tree of Life is one of those rare films laced with a form of aura. A sensation caused on the viewer in a universal way that allows the work to sublimate as ever and even exceed its defects. With The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick is not content only to produce beautiful images, it manages above all to touch us, because it includes in an emotion simple and natural.

In a first step, there is the beauty of the images captured by Malick and the strength of patience and attention to detail. For his film, the director took time. Time to get the natural light of the sun, the more adequate and get on with their plans as best as possible. Thus, in spite of all the complexity required to achieve this result, Malick produces images that are at once simple and rich. Because the director is, at this moment, looking for a beauty very special. Full of longing, like a childhood memory, of a sensation forgotten. A ray of sunshine, the foot of a new born or the look of a mother, are details here lifted up to cause a feeling common, an emotion full of purity.

Then, there are in The Tree of Life questions humans. Malick speaks to us of the ” tree of life “. On A large scale, with the creation of the world, and way more tight, personal and intimate with the daily life of a family in the 1940s. It is in this daily that the director had wanted to ask her camera, sometimes to the limit of the film family, but where the staging is obviously much more calibrated. It does not prevent us to include in this family a little as we try to make Richard Linklater with Boyhood (2014), filmed over a period of twelve years. Thus, to see a child run after her mother has nothing extraordinary. However, in the following ras of the floor, camera in hand, reproducing the not awkward from a young age, and emphasizing the gaze focused on the mother, Malick transports us beyond our expectations. This feeling, the director manages to maintain throughout the duration. Time goes on, other children are born, laugh, cry, fight and rebel like any teenager. The feeling is strange in front of The Tree of Life, as if we were watching our own memories. In this Terrence Malick has managed something of a fort. Using common feelings as natural and human, as the love of a child for its mother, we offer as a Madeleine of Proust. Thus, the face gently to Jessica Chastain (then still little-known), a pure beauty and still carries a certain degree of fragility, becomes the face of THE mother that every boy had loved in his youth. Brad Pitt, for his part, reminds us of THE father’s strict and sometimes harsh, but always loving in his own way. They appear as symbols, under the watchful gaze of their three boys who become, themselves, representatives of the spectator.

In the following, the director causes a physical sensation through simple images. It up here and there to build the characters. It leaves the viewer to feel things and to be transported by use of the most judicious of the voice-over and music. The emotion is unavoidable. The film makes sense, we are engulfed in its complexity as in its simplicity and makes us forget any questions, and the judgments typical in a film. It is undeniable, Terrence Malick has achieved with The Tree of Life is a work of the most remarkable in the history of cinema. A masterpiece so obvious and indescribable at the same time. Proof is with the direct influence of his film on the cinema. Indeed, there is now the ” style Malick “. For the better and for the worse, ever surpassed, or equaled, even by the director himself. One thinks in particular of the successful The Place Beyond The Pines de Derek Cianfrance in 2014, which appears with a staging that worked in a similar light, or at the Lost River “(released this year) missed Ryan Gosling, without great interest and much closer to the plagiarism lazy as a tribute. But above all, the result of The Tree of Life, there’s Terrence Malick , who embarks on her own recovery with To the wonder.

”The feeling is strange in front of The Tree of Life, as if we were watching our own memories. In this Terrence Malick has managed something strong.”

To the wonder, of the sublime to self-parody.

Hardly a year has passed since the shock caused by The Tree of Life, that Malick is back already. Event is very surprising when one knows the time taken by the director, between each of his works. Real anti Woody Allen with his fifty films, Terrence Malick has completed only five feature-length films between 1973 and 2011. The five years between The badlands (1973) and The Harvest of heaven (1978). And then twenty years of silence until The red Line (1998), seven years separate the latter from the New World (2005). Just approaching 70 years of age (67 in 2011), and may be feeling the end of his life approaching, the developer has decided to put the mouthfuls double. He is, therefore, returned with To the wonder in 2012. It should be noted that he began the shooting of the latter even before the release of The Tree of Life. Therefore, it’s difficult to say what project is born first in the mind of the director.

A production speed is surprising. Good news ? Not necessarily so. In fact, if he was able to show innovation, and an extreme sensitivity with his previous film, To the wonder is emptied of any content. Yet on paper, Malick has managed to attract us. “The director of The Tree of Life filmed a love triangle with Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams “. It’s beautiful and flashy ! Only it is precisely this which is lacking at the director now. In fact, Malick is trying to reproduce without success; which made his success previously. But as if The Tree of Life had been an accident, he never manages to recapture the magic of yesteryear. This is even as he caricatures himself. With marvel, the manner of filming of Terrence Malick is pretty much the same, only he was unable to transport us. On the contrary, it is boring and tired. What appeared as a sensible work and honest is revealed here to be superficial and pretentious. Although taking scenery, in one part of the film, awe-inspiring landscapes, such as the Mont Saint-Michel, and natural, like the beach, it is not able to we be overwhelmed by the elements. The other areas are industrial and urban, without life and without an aesthetic. Difficult to find the beauty in it and be captivated.

The filmmaker stays in the same vein, deciding to stall his method in all the subjects that are of concern, his worries, his fears, his fascinations, and finally just his obsessions which characterize it at this moment of his life. In marvel, we understand that it seeks to position itself on the theme of love, to represent a couple who do love more, who does not know how to communicate, who is no longer happy, while including the part of religion and the questions of the spiritual that the torment for some time. But the way of Sofia Coppola, that to deal with the boredom just to annoy the viewer with Somewhere (2010), Terrence Malick, to want to show of the protagonists, who no longer understand, becomes inaccessible and airtight, and no longer causes nothing in us.

”A marvel, is neither more nor less than a parody that Malick has made his own. The memory of The Tree of Life is now far away…”

In fact with marvel, the filmmaker plunges into a form of loneliness and refuse to invite us to follow him in his world. As soon as the magic and the emotion no longer, the dialogues of his film appear poor and ridiculous. The natural and simplicity give way to a feeling of wrongness, where everything is formatted to sign in the famous style of Malick “. The actors walk two meters away from each other, look at each other without speaking (communication only passing through by the voice, it is outrageous !) and turns around. It is already seen, but it’s not working anymore. The discomfort we win, even the nervous laughter and embarrassed, while the poor Olga Kurylenko performs dance on the beach. And then in a park. And then in the woods. And then in a shopping center… A parody, neither more nor less, that Malick has made his own. The memory of The Tree of Life is now distant, and remain afflicted in the face of self-sufficiency becoming a poverty. The director of engineering is no more. It is ridicules, even by moments, and is isolated as a hermit. Isolation indicative of the major problem of’To the wonder in which we are unable to feel ourselves to be concerned or to feel any empathy with the filmmaker. Malick could make a movie with the desire to share with the audience, he chose to make a work so personal that it is impenetrable.

Knight of Cups, the uncertainties of a renaissance hoped for.

The announcement of the release in theaters in 2015 Knight of Cups, we were obviously fairly suspicious. Had we lost Terrence Malick in To the wonder, immersed in his obsessions and questions, philosophical-religious, in its desire to question the world and life, for him and nothing for him ? Or would we find the Malick of The Tree of Life (or even before) who invited us to join him in his feelings, pure emotions and identifiable ? The opinion diverges again to this subject. For some, Knight of Cups will return you to Malick to the status of director of engineering. For others, it will be down permanently in the case of a director pretentious and superficial. Well as more interesting to some degree thatHas the wonder, Knight of Cups remains in a approach inaccessible. It still allows the developer to continue his work in the form of a triptych for the moment, but that can become a tétraptyque, pentaptyque, hexaptyque… no One knows where Malick may go like this.



The badlands (1973) – by Paul

The Harvest of heaven (1978) – by Paul

The red Line (1998) – by Paul

The New world (2005) – by Paul

The Tree of Life (2011) – by Paul

Has the wonder (2012) – by Paul


– The cinema of Terrence Malick – by Loris


– What happened to Terrence Malick ? – by Pierre


– Review of Knight of Cups – by Peter,

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