I’ve declared May to be Terrence Malick Month. On my blog at least.
Why? Because something is happening this month that happens only about once every 93.5 months: A Terrence Malick film is being released. The reclusive, mysterious filmmaker has released only five films in his 40 year career. One in 1972 (Badlands), one in 1978 (Days of Heaven), one in 1998 after a mysterious two-decade absence from civilization (The Thin Red Line), one in 2005 (The New World), and then this year. In this case, the film in question is called The Tree of Life, and it’s been a long time since so much hype has surrounded a film that so little is known about.
The timeline for Terrence Malick festivities during #MalickMonth will be as follows:
May 8: Blog post about Malick’s 1st film, Badlands.
May 12: Blog post about his 3rd film, The Thin Red Line.
May 14: Blog post about his 4th film, The New World.
May 16: The Tree of Life premieres at Cannes. I will post a roundup of post-Cannes reactions to the film from critics in attendance at the premiere.
May 27: Life opens in theaters. My review will post on Christianity Today‘s website.
So, that’s the plan. If you can’t tell… I’m a fan.
Also, watch this first clip, released today exclusively to Entertainment Weekly.
From the looks of it, Malick’s continuing to explore an impressionistic, symphonic cinema of emotions and reverie–through fragments of image (heavy on the jump cuts), fragments of sound (dialogue and diegetic sound coming in and out), and classical music tying it all together. In this way, I anticipate the film to look and feel more like The New World (with its barely audible whispers of fragmented thoughts and emotions, strung together by Mozart and Wagner) than the more plot-driven films of Malick’s early career.
In other words: Don’t expect this film to have a readily apparent “meaning,” or a “plot” in the conventional sense. DO expect it to be a beautiful assemblage of poetic imagery, lyrical vignettes and grandiose cinema par excellence.