A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#126 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:59 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:03 pm
This looks like every other Malick movie
That’s what mfunk said, stunning.

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aox
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#127 Post by aox » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:31 am

I'm not a huge fan of Malick, but this looks beautiful and riveting. Can't wait to check it out.

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solaris72
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#128 Post by solaris72 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:36 am


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DeprongMori
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#129 Post by DeprongMori » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:01 pm

I just saw A Hidden Life last night at the Mill Valley Film Festival. I found it beautiful and profoundly moving, but it will not convert anyone who does not care for Malick's style (especially post-"Tree of Life"). It contains many of his stylistic traits: extensive use of use of voice-over, Steadicam, stunning shots of nature, etc. It does retain the extensive use of Steadicam of his recent films, but joined to a more formal screenplay.

The film runs long, and will likely try the patience of many. But depiction of Franz Jägerstätter's commitment to his act of conscience really needs the breathing room it is given here, to provide depth and gravity to the corrosion of his place and his family's place in his village, the pain and fear of his wife and children, the suffocating atmosphere of fear in the culture of village and country as nationalistic hate is fueled, and his own fear, doubt, pain, and probable execution. This is after all a story of faith, wherein the protagonist realizes that while his own personal act of conscience will destroy him and his family and everything he loves, it will likely have no larger impact on the presenting problem, or even be noticed. It is, at its core, a passion play.

Regarding the "language" issue brought up earlier. What Malick does is to present this as a German-speaking world, where only the dialogue that we are meant to understand in nuance is spoken in a German/Austrian-inflected English. I found it a brilliant way of keeping us immersed in the world and didn't find it distancing at all. (And the earlier quoted review that made the statement that it was "German for evil and English for good" was just ridiculous, and should be dismissed outright.) I found it similar to Altman's use of overlapping dialogue while roving a crowd scene, where most of the dialogue is not intelligible except the dialogue you are supposed to hear and interpret. It's a method of framing the dialogue, and I found it to work admirably, as subtitles do detract from the visual and immersive experience.

As a bit of a hard-core admirer of Malick's works (though I still have not seen Song to Song or the extended cut of Tree of Life), I'd rank this in the high-mid-tier to lower-top-tier of his work. I'm glad to see a return to a more plot-structured story, especially one that treats his key themes so strongly.
Last edited by DeprongMori on Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dda1996a
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#130 Post by dda1996a » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:12 pm

So this is closer to Tree of Life and Thin Red Line than Knight of Cups and To the Wonder?

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DeprongMori
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#131 Post by DeprongMori » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:40 pm

dda1996a wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:12 pm
So this is closer to Tree of Life and Thin Red Line than Knight of Cups and To the Wonder?
I’d say in terms of structure, story-telling approach, and theme (not to mention historical setting), its nearest kin is The Thin Red Line. In terms of visual technique of fluid Steadicam use, it probably leans closer to Knight of Cups and To the Wonder.

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#132 Post by dda1996a » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:41 pm

I love every Malick film up to and including Tree of Life, and my problems with everything that came after is their aimlessness and their whining, so I hope this will be a healthy mix for me

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#133 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:49 pm

While I totally disagree with your assessment of his post-Tree of Life films, I do think that if those are your primary concerns, you'll find this more in line with your tastes.

I personally put it second only to The Thin Red Line in his filmography, and just ahead of To The Wonder and The New World.

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#134 Post by dda1996a » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:01 pm

I do need to rewatch To the Wonder, and I was rather on good terms with Song to Song. But they lack everything that makes the former five films so perfect in my eyes, namely Men's search for meaning in relation to both nature and God. Which is why this does seem more exciting to me.

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#135 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:56 am

I walked out on this around an hour in, realizing that I had seen enough lovingly shot HDTV demo reel footage of August Diehl being shoved and groused at by his fellow townspeople for one lifetime, but not feeling anything but apathy toward the film. Anyway, I sent LQ a text for afterward apologizing for bailing and explaining that I'd much rather just get some fresh air and a cup of coffee than to watch said shoving, and that I sort of got the idea and it was a good time in a day full of watching movies to decompress. Around two hours into the film's astonishing three, she replied that she was taking a bathroom break, and that she understood - but informed me that the plot had taken quite the turn: "Now prison guards are shoving him."

Anyway, I can't say whether this is any good or not since I bailed, but hopefully the above paragraph helps you get an impression of it in some small way.

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#136 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:54 pm


Peter-H
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#137 Post by Peter-H » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:59 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:56 am
I walked out on this around an hour in, realizing that I had seen enough lovingly shot HDTV demo reel footage of August Diehl being shoved and groused at by his fellow townspeople.
But how much twirling was there?

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#138 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:51 am

Twirling and rolling around were definitely present.

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#139 Post by Roger Ryan » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:33 am

As this second trailer appears to reinforce, Malick apparently sticks with one camera lens throughout: extremely wide. Now I love the use of short lenses in general as an aesthetic choice to create depth, but I'm finding the "sameness" of every shot in these two trailers distracts me from focusing on the actual drama. Does this film ever let you forget there is camera inches away from the actors at all times?

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#140 Post by Never Cursed » Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:49 pm

Any critic who praised this as a masterwork at Cannes and went on to complain about Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo being too long and repetitive needs to get their head examined. How hilarious the idea is that Malick had to spend 2+ years editing this to get it just right - the film is nothing more than a jumble of supercuts, haphazardly put together with no eye for "poetry" or meaning beyond either the face value of the story or audience/artist projection. It is indeed pretty if excerpted in clip-or-trailer-sized chunks of August Diehl getting beaten in prison or Valerie Pachner busting her ass doing farm work, but it is absurdly monotonous as a long-form piece: the film doesn't have a style, it just has every one of Malick's tics repeated ad nauseam for three hours at the service of a disposable narrative. Through all his trials, there is never the sense that Jägerstätter is wavering or will waver in his Christlike (as the movie reminds us approximately 97 million times) decision to lay down his life for his faith, robbing the film of meaningful stakes and, to me, making Jägerstätter seem more callous in his stubbornness than anything. I'm sure everything I just said is no deterrence if you're already a Malick disciple, but this is entirely ignorable if you aren't.

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#141 Post by Finch » Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:18 pm

One can be a Malick fan (if mostly of his earlier work) and still not particularly want to see this film so believe me, yours and mfunk's post do convince me that I don't have to see this as a priority right now.

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senseabove
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#142 Post by senseabove » Sat Dec 28, 2019 5:04 pm

My only experience with post-return Malick is The New World in the the first, 150-minute cut, which I liked well enough, so I don't know what it says about my odds for liking the rest of his work, but I thought this was just about terrible. The much-discussed German/English divide didn't strike me as "keeping us immersed" as DeprongMori put it; rather it felt like the audience's corollary test to Franz's endurance of the bewilderingly oblique, opaque Nazi state—but someone pulled Malick aside and said "hey maybe this isn't the best look," so he inserted the love letters in German toward the end. (I'm fairly certain that's the only non-shouted, non-background German we hear—relatively—clearly, but maybe I missed something at the beginning before I noticed what came to feel like a wall between what English-language audiences are given to understand and what we're not.) That obfuscating endurance test combined with Malick's destabilized, swooping camera and perpetual discontinuity—which, in The New World, felt like a sense of overwhelming discovery and excitement—made this feel more like a hazing ritual than a style evoking understanding or empathy. And all of that together strikes me as making it an ill-timed movie—it feels a little stale, at best, to portray Naziism as either obviously, monolithically evil or the ravings of a mad mayor buttressed by silent glares and spit. It's a simplistic idea of blind fascism as distilled evil and evil as foreign to humanity. No sympathizer in the movie is given an ounce of interiority, neither actively nor at an early stage but eventually lost to cowardice or groupthink, except possibly the mother, who is too lightly sketched a character even over three hours for me to say what her narrative function was other than as a burr for Fany during Franz's imprisonment. Evil feels imparted by some alien, incomprehensible force whose tendrils stretch from Berlin out into Radegund, and that feels misguided, especially right now; I kept thinking of Lynch or Lang, who have over time become my reference points for cinematic, Capital-E Evil, in whose films the outgrowths of fear and damage and greed perpetuating themselves to monstrously cartoonish degrees feel infinitely more realistic than any sense of man's capacity for persecuting or withstanding persecution on display here. As I believe I've said elsewhere, Lang's Hangmen Also Die (which, coincidentally, uses to much better effect the penetrating cruelty of a Nazi officer torturing a prisoner with only a chair) depicts resistance as viral, not the near miraculous willfulness of one individual, and feels much more powerful, and inspiring, if thats what it should be, because of it. The remainder of the movie, dealing with Franz and Fany's faith, left me feeling similar to the way, say, The Seventh Seal unfortunately does, and not the way Diary of a Country Priest or Dreyer's Passion do: rather than exploring a crisis of self-understanding and belief, it's an argument founded so distinctly on an insular, personal faith crisis, that I have no idea how to participate in it, and so it leaves me unmoved.

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tenia
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#143 Post by tenia » Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:29 am

I didnt disliked the movie but many of the issues discussed here felt obvious to me. I think there is a much better much muh shorter movie in here and it's hard to understand why we'd need so much time seeing Pachner preparing vegetables and of Diehl being shoved we need to see to get the point.
Still, I found the 2nd half of the movie being quite interesting though still overlong but it still felt like a step down after Song to Song.

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#144 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:07 pm

I haven’t seen this yet. Maybe this week. Question... I was disappointed Malick changed his original intent from from German language to English. Does it make a difference?

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Oedipax
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#145 Post by Oedipax » Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:35 pm

There's kind of a blend of English and German, actually. All the voiceover and primary character dialogue happens in English while incidental stuff in the village and most of the Nazi interactions happen in un-subtitled German.

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Brian C
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#146 Post by Brian C » Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:59 am

A couple weeks ago, a Facebook friend shared a meme from one of those idiotic liberal sites like Occupy Democrats or somesuch, which purported to explain why whoever put the meme together continues to post anti-Trump stuff when they're not changing any Trump supporters' minds. It presented an alleged quote from a Vietnam-era protester; when asked if he thought he could change the country with his war protests, he replied something to the effect of "I'm not doing this to change the country, I'm doing this so the country won't change me."

This was, of course, passed along with the utmost approval by both my friend and the source of the meme, but I thought that it was hideously facile, to the point of solipsism. After all, what good is your personal integrity if it only serves the purpose of giving you an opportunity to pat yourself on the back? What good is a protest if it's not to change anyone's mind? How can a person claim to be a moral person when the glorification of their own personal self-expression is their primary goal?

I bring this up because Terrence Malick has, for all intents and purposes, made a movie version of this meme. His protagonist is asked point-blank multiple times during the film what kind of change he hopes to make in the world, and he simply doesn't have an answer. And neither, frankly, does the film. It's interesting to compare this to another recent movie about a conscientious objector, Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge; whatever else one might say about that film, at least it shows its protagonist's morality as a driving force to find ways to serve for good in a terrible world, and not just an end in and of itself.

I disagree with some of the criticisms of Malick's film in this thread. For one thing, the amount of shoving is vastly overstated. And I think the movie is exceptionally crafted, beautifully shot and edited, and that it has, somewhat ironically, more of a sense of purpose than To the Wonder or Tree of Life, the two most recent Malicks I've seen. It's just that the film's concept of morality feels very simple-minded to me, and the postscript explaining the "hidden life" framework felt downright insulting. Surely that is describing people who did more good in the world and were less motivated by their own narcissism than Franz in this movie?

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Oedipax
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#147 Post by Oedipax » Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:30 pm

I agree that a more conflicted protagonist would've made for a more relatable and probably compelling film on that level. As a friend of mine has pointed out, this film really feels like it's in direct conversation with Scorsese's Silence. In that film, there's the same dilemma over whether to compromise on a bedrock personal principle where, crucially, it will not make a great material difference in the world by doing so. And conversely, there is great suffering as a result of sticking to said principle (both for the protagonists and, especially, the innocent others who have had no role in said decision). In both films there's a moment where someone even tells the protagonists that they can bend on this one thing and still believe what they truly feel in their heart - that this is ultimately all God really cares about.

However, I do think Malick's film has another dimension to it beyond the unwavering commitment to moral purity. We spend a great deal of time with Franz's wife and children, and we see the ways in which Franz's moral stand leads to the suffering of others. It made for an interesting duality for me - Franz and Malick as director seem to be saying one thing, but the film still dedicates so much time to showing the external costs involved that it can't help but also raise questions in the viewer, if not in its protagonist. While the film speaks overtly in a register of moral certitude, it still ultimately feels like it's probing and questioning this impulse towards absolutism.
Last edited by Oedipax on Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#148 Post by whaleallright » Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:22 pm

Which French critic was it who said something like, the only interesting films about fascism will have been made by people who felt the temptation?

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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#149 Post by miless » Wed Jan 01, 2020 3:52 pm

Bergman's exploration certainly left much to be desired

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Luke M
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Re: A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick, 2019)

#150 Post by Luke M » Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:43 am

I thought this was Malick's best since The New World. Be forewarned, it's still through and through the modern Malick style but with a narrative he's anchored a bit. It worked for me, even the odd camera angles, the lack of German subtitles, and the occasional whispering. It all came together. Probably one of my favorites of the year.

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