942 The Tree of Life

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
whaleallright
Posts: 902
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1176 Post by whaleallright » Thu May 17, 2018 1:25 am

The Pachyderminator wrote:search for transcendence.
serious (and not meant to be patronizing) question: what does this mean? I see this word, "transcendence," a lot in re. films and I usually have little idea what the author means by it.

User avatar
Lost Highway
Posts: 602
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1177 Post by Lost Highway » Thu May 17, 2018 3:55 am

^ When people start throwing round terms like "transcendence" my BS alarm goes off, which doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate or understand the intangible values and pleasures of art.
dda1996a wrote:I meant inquisitive in the sense that I find questions a lot more interesting than getting answers. Hence why the voice-over in Thin Red Line-ToL (from To the Wonder they do reach cliche levels) never bothered me as they made me swoon.
Again, you are being presumptive about me demanding answers rather than questions, which is not the case. I also haven’t mentioned anything about being bothered by Malick‘s voice overs. I think they work beautifully in his first three films. I especially like the chasm between what we see and what we are being told by the VO in his first two.
dda1996a wrote:I don't think anyone can watch Order, Day of Wrath or most of all Joan of Arc without mentioning spirituality. I evoked directors who personally are on that spectrum, that of religion and spirituality. Say what you will but I consider his films nothing but religious works of art
I don’t have a problem with films which deal with religion as subject matter.
Last edited by Lost Highway on Thu May 17, 2018 4:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

dda1996a
Posts: 711
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1178 Post by dda1996a » Thu May 17, 2018 4:02 am

I was replying to whaleallright about Dreyer. And I think a large part of Malick's spirituality or stance on religion is expressed through his VO, but only from TRL onward, which is why I stressed that. His two earlier films use it to show the character's Innocence in contrast with the harsher adult world. It's only from TRL that Malick started to probe into more philosophical ideas.

User avatar
Lost Highway
Posts: 602
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1179 Post by Lost Highway » Thu May 17, 2018 4:32 am

I think it’s the visuals as much as the VO in The Tree of Life.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14126
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1180 Post by knives » Thu May 17, 2018 11:10 am

dda1996a wrote:I don't think anyone can watch Ordet, Day of Wrath or most of all Joan of Arc without mentioning spirituality. I evoked directors who personally are on that spectrum, that of religion and spirituality. Say what you will but I consider his films nothing but religious works of art
TBH I can and usually find talks of spirituality and Dreyer to ignore completely what I like about the films which is the characterization and political examination.

Quinto
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 17, 2018 1:18 pm

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1181 Post by Quinto » Thu May 17, 2018 2:19 pm

Image

Since Criterion announced THE TREE OF LIFE, I've had some good debates with friends about the divisiveness of the film. I know some feel it's on the nose, but I love re-watching because of its subtleties. This is one of my favorite moments: 77 minutes in, Jack's father is explaining his worldview. "Your father has 27 patents. Means 'Ownership.' Ownership of ideas. You gotta sew 'em up. Get 'em by the nuts." Meanwhile, his internal voiceover is less secure, "You'll be rich. Make yourself what you are. Control your own destiny." While this plays, we get a 2 second clip of the idea he "owns." It's a design we saw for 5 seconds, 40 minutes earlier in the film, and one that existed millions of years before him. The fact that he believes it's his idea to own and that makes him important is why he'll never be happy. Most filmmakers would hang a hat on this, but Malick just buries the clues.

User avatar
whaleallright
Posts: 902
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1182 Post by whaleallright » Thu May 17, 2018 4:12 pm

dda1996a wrote:. It's only from TRL that Malick started to probe into more philosophical ideas.
This is only, maybe true, if you're only looking at explicit philosophical questions posed in voice-over. The first two films are absolutely saturated with ideas and motifs drawn, as much as anything, from Malick's interest and reading in philosophy. (That said, the efforts of some critics and scholars to turn his films into literal philosophical arguments or "illustrations" of philosophical positions are inane.) If you read the few interviews Malick gave in the 1970s, I think that's immediately apparent. My favorite quote by him has to do with his primary ambition for Badlands that he give people "a sense of the thingness of things," surely as Heideggerian a phrase as one could imagine.

In re. Dreyer, at risk of invoking the intentional fallacy twice, it's worth noting that Dreyer himself was a religious skeptic. Although he occasionally spoke of a "soul," usually in a sort of colloquial way, I think he was above all concerned with the mysteries of the human personality. In Ordet we have a film that's explicitly about the nature of faith, of course, but I think the fact that Dreyer was adapting a celebrated text by Kaj Munk (who, in fact, gets the only onscreen credit) is too often forgotten. (As was the case that Dreyer made both that film and Gertrud to prove he could still complete a film, in an effort to get his opus—a sort of non-Christian, if not entirely materialist, rendering of the life of Jesus—funded.)

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12300
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1183 Post by MichaelB » Thu May 17, 2018 5:26 pm

whaleallright wrote:In re. Dreyer, at risk of invoking the intentional fallacy twice, it's worth noting that Dreyer himself was a religious skeptic.
As were Bresson and Kieślowski, of course.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Posts: 5949
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1184 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu May 17, 2018 8:54 pm

And yet all three directors were attracted to making metaphysical films. Dreyer in particular was attracted to a certain heightened emotional atmosphere that's labeled transcendent because it's usually straining away from prosaic or everyday experience towards something idealized or numinous or sacred or what have you. I don't think it's a misreading to pick up on that, nor to see the later style as taking on the austerity and formality of an ascetic's ritual. They may not be religious films, in terms of belief anyway, but they are surely not skeptical films, either. And neither are they only concerned with "the mysteries of the human personality" because there is a lot of the human personality Dreyer is uninterested in exploring. He more favours the human personality in a captivated state, where it is searching and yearning and calling for something much larger and more encompassing than what can be found in the more meagre circumstances surrounding it. Often that searched for thing is love, but not the everyday love of a happily married middle-class couple; it's a love of a purity and intensity that one can be forgiven for calling spiritual. Whether we are meant to take that all literally is another question, and we're probably not. But it's certainly there.

Whatever his private beliefs, Dreyer (and probably Bresson and Kieślowski, too, tho' I feel less able to speak about them) liked to dramatize spiritual ideas and metaphysical situations, and not simply as strict psychological portraits. Indeed, Gertrude seems entirely uninterested in psychologizing its characters, to the point of flattening them and evoking the intensity of their emotions through achingly small and precise character gestures and camera movements rather than dramatic revelations of interiority ala Bergman.

dda1996a
Posts: 711
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1185 Post by dda1996a » Fri May 18, 2018 3:05 am

whaleallright wrote:
dda1996a wrote:. It's only from TRL that Malick started to probe into more philosophical ideas.
This is only, maybe true, if you're only looking at explicit philosophical questions posed in voice-over. The first two films are absolutely saturated with ideas and motifs drawn, as much as anything, from Malick's interest and reading in philosophy. (That said, the efforts of some critics and scholars to turn his films into literal philosophical arguments or "illustrations" of philosophical positions are inane.) If you read the few interviews Malick gave in the 1970s, I think that's immediately apparent. My favorite quote by him has to do with his primary ambition for Badlands that he give people "a sense of the thingness of things," surely as Heideggerian a phrase as one could imagine.

In re. Dreyer, at risk of invoking the intentional fallacy twice, it's worth noting that Dreyer himself was a religious skeptic. Although he occasionally spoke of a "soul," usually in a sort of colloquial way, I think he was above all concerned with the mysteries of the human personality. In Ordet we have a film that's explicitly about the nature of faith, of course, but I think the fact that Dreyer was adapting a celebrated text by Kaj Munk (who, in fact, gets the only onscreen credit) is too often forgotten. (As was the case that Dreyer made both that film and Gertrud to prove he could still complete a film, in an effort to get his opus—a sort of non-Christian, if not entirely materialist, rendering of the life of Jesus—funded.)
Of course I'm not ignoring those films, and I don't think anyone can ignore Malick's wide eyed wonder at the natural world and humanity's place in it. But they are way more character driven works, whereas Thin Red Line started focusing more on humanity and the world as equals, where characters memories and nature all stand one next to the other.
Also I'm not saying Dreyer was a religious director (I want to evoke Bergman and a counter example but haven't seen many of his films) as religious texts, but rather he was trying to show religion's role and affect on his character lives. No one can mistake Day of Wrath for a religious film (and the church is again portrayed horrifically) but through the personal conundrums of his characters he tries to portray something "transcending" just human relations. Granted a rewatch of his films is in order (now that I have Michael, and I'll also watch Gertrude for the first time).
Saying a film is spiritual doesn't mean rejecting politics and/or characterization. Those are widely evident in Dreyer as they are in Tarkovsky, Kieslowski and Angelopoulos for that matter (I'd also say Malick as well). That's what I love about them. Its why as a non Christian I can also admit absolute awe in watching Scorsese's Last Temptation. I think Scorsese is also a good example of a director mixing religion and spirituality with a focus on the corporeal.

User avatar
pzadvance
Posts: 346
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:24 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1186 Post by pzadvance » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:03 pm

Criterion added the following feature:
- New video essay by critic Benjamin B about the film’s cinematography and style, featuring audio interviews with Lubezki, production designer Jack Fisk, and other crew members

User avatar
DarkImbecile
LightGenius
Posts: 1331
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1187 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:24 pm

Does anyone have any clue who that is?

User avatar
Big Ben
Posts: 1111
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1188 Post by Big Ben » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:34 pm

Those are my initials and I wish I had the audacity to troll that much but alas I do not. Interesting that they've chosen not to reveal his last name (Here's oping it's not another ::kogonada level eccentric video.). The closet name I get Googling that name is Benjamin Button and well that's obviously not correct.

User avatar
DarkImbecile
LightGenius
Posts: 1331
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1189 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:41 pm

Maybe it’s Brad Pitt’s idea of a cheeky pseudonym

User avatar
Gregory
Posts: 5310
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1190 Post by Gregory » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:47 pm

I used a little-known search engine that's far better than Google and it told me that Benjamin B is @thefilmbook / thefilmbook.com

User avatar
All the Best People
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:08 pm
Contact:

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1191 Post by All the Best People » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:39 pm

I don't think Malick's films are particularly about "transcendence"; they are about "immanence": Wiki's definition of "those philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence in which the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world" strikes me as good as any. Malick's repeated refrain (in multiple films) is "all things shining" -- it is through creation that God's presence and grace is made clear. This is the big message of The Tree of Life, that "nature" and "grace" (as defined by the film) aren't so opposed after all -- the film ends with a shot of a bridge (prior to a closing shot of the divine light), after we've seen shots of the sky ("where God lives") reflected in glass skyscrapers; divine creation reflected in human creation. His recent films have been about characters alienated from making this connection, and the stories have been about them coming to it, to finding signs of grace in everything and everyone around us.

User avatar
Noiretirc
Posts: 298
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:04 pm
Location: VanIsle
Contact:

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1192 Post by Noiretirc » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:11 pm


User avatar
CSM126
Posts: 1451
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:22 am
Location: The Room
Contact:

Re: 942 The Tree of Life

#1193 Post by CSM126 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:19 pm


Post Reply