By Gautier Coiffard
Terrence Malick is one of the most unique figures in contemporary filmmaking. Since his directorial debut in 1973 with “Badlands,” the director has released only four other features, including “Days Of Heaven” (1978), “The Thin Red Line” (1998), “The New World” (2005), and now “The Tree Of Life,” which Malick wrote and which stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan, and Fiona Shaw.
I had an interesting experience watching “The Tree Of Life,” something that happened to me only once before, when I first discovered Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
To begin, I couldn’t get into “The Tree Of Life” during the first 20 minutes. I found it boring, and I even fell asleep for about five minutes. But then I woke up, and I was suddenly dreaming awake.
I was in a completely different world with my eyes wide open. It was as if I were stoned by the film. I must admit that this is a weird way to say I loved it. I wouldn’t know how else to explain it. I lived the movie.
I can’t describe “The Tree Of Life,” you also have to live it. If you want to read a review about the acting, the story, the directing… go somewhere else. But I will write about one thing that was outstanding to me, the editing. This movie is not just a succession of cuts. It is a perfect linking of images that speak to your eyes. There isn’t a linear story in “The Tree Of Life,” it’s a gathering of segments. And because of the beauty of the editing, you aren’t bothered by the cuts.For example, the shot of a living, breathing dinosaur might be followed by a shot of baby. This isn’t jarring because the editing is done so well, and Malick has a vision that draws you in. You’re hardly aware of the technology behind the creativity, which is a tribute to Malick’s talent. “The Tree Of Life” is highly recommended.
Gautier Coiffard holds an engineering degree and is doing graduate work in cinema and the audiovisual arts. He is finishing a six month internship in television production. He received the Cinematography Award for his master’s thesis short film, “Choisis” (“Choose”). His goal is to make movies from his own screenplays.