Tag Archive: Malick

My paper for this year’s Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference, coming up next month in Boston, will focus on the two films that got a lot of side-by-side attention at last year’s Cannes festival, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Since a few of my favorite bloggers have also discussed them side by side, I thought I’d share my preliminary thoughts about them here.

The two films play a key role in the final chapter of my (forthcoming) Ecologies of the Moving Image, but as I’m still thinking these themes through, I will be interested in responses I get at the SCMS (or here).

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Nature vs. Grace?

The latest issue of Precipitate: Journal of the New Environmental Imagination — which looks like an excellent issue — includes a review of Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” that reminds me how important it is to pay attention to the dialogical and heteroglossic texture of Malick’s films, and how easy it is to lose the path when one puts too much weight on a single line of text.

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Malick’s tangled bank


It will take some time before I can say anything very intelligible about Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life.

But here are some initial thoughts, for what they’re worth.

(1) This is the film in which Malick just lets it go, and lets it flow…

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Malick vs. von Trier @ Cannes

The artist of sublime faith (of the pantheistic, immanent kind) versus the artist of sublime cynicism. “Earth is heaven (and purgatory)” versus “Earth is evil.” With catastrophe and Kubrick’s 2001 lurking in the background of both…


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The tree of life, in pieces

If you haven’t seen the trailer for Terence Malick’s forthcoming film The Tree of Life, you’re just not a real cineaste, are you?

What’s better than burrowing analytically into the Heideggerian ecophilosophical themes of Malick’s films (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, The New World — before making any of them he was a Heideggerian philosopher)? Analyzing the trailers, of course, which is what Eric Kohn does in a shot-by-shot breakdown of its full 96-cuts-in-two-minutes length. Water, fire, nature, innocence, grace (sounds like a Tarkovsky film so far, or something Lars von Trier is about to twist inside out), baseball, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn (so much for Tarkovsky)…

H/t to Drifting’s David Lowery.