Author Topic: The Tree of Life  (Read 6888 times)

B_Buster

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The Tree of Life
« on: June 07, 2011, 06:48:19 PM »
Of course, I could have done without the dinosaurs and planetarium stuff (pot fans will rejoice, though), but the personal, childhood in Texas stuff was as great as it gets. Sure, it overreaches and I disagree with some of its conclusions, but that's part of its appeal. Who am I to begrudge a guy his looney vision of life?
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Paul DeLouisiana

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2011, 03:44:03 PM »
I saw it and loved it. The family story was beautiful. I don't have an indepth analysis because I loved mostly all of it. I do think the dinosaurs were a little out of place. If they would have only shown the beached dinosaur that would have been perfect. It always baffles me how meticulous directors use footage of obviously CGI animals. Like at the beginning of No Country For Old Men. But even the way the dinosaurs ran looked pre-Jurassic Park. Good thing it was just one scene.

Seeing the children grow up was mesmerizing. Malick has a great way of spanning time. I bet he loves babies because God knows he loves filming them. 

Paul DeLouisiana

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2011, 09:38:57 PM »
Upon rewatching The Tree of Life today I noticed a few things. One significant thing I missed the first time around was when Jack and R.L. are sitting by the window after the bb gun scene. Jack is standing and R.L. is sitting. Jack says he's sorry and puts his hand on R.L.'s shoulder. We see this shot for a few seconds then they switch locations and shirts as if to say that as brothers, they feel for each other in the same way and that maybe Jack now realizes his father loves them both the same. That was the scene that turned his character around. It's a very subtle and very profound scene and I got very emotional when I noticed it.
Overall the second viewing hit me a lot harder than the first. I feel like there is so much I can relate to in the film.There are aspects of Pitt's character that remind me of my father and definitely my grandfather. Just growing up in the south and knowing the feeling of coming in for dinner at twilight after running around, playing all day, hearing the crickets drone of in the night. Knowing the territorial limits of your yard, running around with a group of neighborhood kids and catching glimpses of unhappy neighbors, not knowing what to make of it at that age. I guess no matter where you're from you can relate to this nostalgic feel.
Also this time I got a sense that Jack was sort of lusting after his mom towards the end. Anyone else pick up on this? It was totally innocent but there is a scene where she is walking through her bedroom in a slip and he is watching her as he is walking around the house. I'm not sure what to make out of that but I feel like he was grown more curious of women after stealing the slip. BTW I am still kinda lost with that. Did the kid dare him to do that? I'll be a lot better with subtitles available.

Also, what do you make of the dinosaur scene? Not in general but specifically what the dinosaurs did.

B_Buster

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2011, 10:44:33 PM »
Here's my take on the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs and the creation of the cosmos occur right after the news of the death of the son. When confronted with such a tragedy, a person can't help but ponder the meaning of life. Is this really what the history of the universe adds up to? A devastating tragedy? I read that Terence Malick's brother committed suicide at a very early age. I think The Tree of Life is his response, all these years later, to his brother's death.
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Paul DeLouisiana

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2011, 09:04:54 AM »
Here's my take on the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs and the creation of the cosmos occur right after the news of the death of the son. When confronted with such a tragedy, a person can't help but ponder the meaning of life. Is this really what the history of the universe adds up to? A devastating tragedy? I read that Terence Malick's brother committed suicide at a very early age. I think The Tree of Life is his response, all these years later, to his brother's death.

I think the prolonged sequence of the "creation of the cosmos" is to prepare the viewer for most dynamic expression of this cosmos in human nature. I think he's trying to remind the audience that human beings (despite our technology) belong to this vast system of causal interactions. Our attempts to get out of nature never really help with the most important dimensions of our reality.

What do you make of the attic scene? I am stumped.

I found the reoccurring image of feminine feet as very significant in terms of the sexual awareness or sensuality. Not too sure how to express it, though. The scene in which he gets a drink of water (he gets it from the same girl he steals the slip from) and when he bends over to drink he looks at her wet feet which she's been washing. There's another shot where the mom is holding her feet in the sprinkler. And then at the closing sequence he kisses/hugs one of the woman's feet on the heaven-like beach scene. There's something with this i can't quite grasp. A renewed understanding of love maybe...

This film is full of so much imagery leading to so many questions. Like what do you think about the two bodies wrapped in white cloths lying on the ground at the end?

gravy boat

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2011, 09:13:08 AM »
Mike's theory about the dinosaurs makes sense.  My take was slightly different.  A scene coming after the dinosaurs shows a meteor hitting the earth.  I took that as a reference to the meteor that caused the after-effects that some theorize wiped out all the dinosaurs and most of life on earth.  I took that as Malick saying something in effect of "loss has always been part of the bargain of life."  As to what they specifically did, I think Malick was trying to show compassion is not a human trait but something that is part of the natural world, too.   Maybe.

I thought this movie was the most moving I've seen in some time.  In particular, the whole BB gun scene really stayed with me and now I want to see it again to catch what Paul saw.  Wow-the children were great.  I also liked how intimately you knew this family's house and neighborhood by the end of the movie. And I liked the dad's ongoing battles with the yard -- some needed levity.  My wife thought the ending was too hokey and I quoted Mike about begrudging the guy.

This probably gets overused but this is one I'm glad I saw on the big screen with the music and the massive images and the overpriced stale popcorn.  If you're on the fence I say see it at the thee-ate-er while you can.

Paul DeLouisiana

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2011, 09:23:18 AM »
As to what they specifically did, I think Malick was trying to show compassion is not a human trait but something that is part of the natural world, too.   Maybe.

Right, I think that the dinosaur scenes had something to say about woundedness and compassion. Compassion less as a human trait and more as an occurance in nature. I feel like all the characters in the film were wounded somehow and brought some sort of healing through the compassion of others. Maybe with the dinosaur scenes Malick was trying to show that compassion has evolved through time.

B_Buster

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2011, 09:27:04 AM »
What happens in the attic scene, Paul? I've only seen it once and don't remember. Nice catch with the brothers changing shirts. I didn't notice that. The feet imagery could be a Christian allusion to the washing of Jesus' feet. Or maybe he just likes women's feet. Nothing wrong with that.

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Paul DeLouisiana

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2011, 09:48:44 AM »
What happens in the attic scene, Paul? I've only seen it once and don't remember. Nice catch with the brothers changing shirts. I didn't notice that. The feet imagery could be a Christian allusion to the washing of Jesus' feet. Or maybe he just likes women's feet. Nothing wrong with that.



We see a small child sitting on a tricycle in the attic with a tall man leaning over because he is too tall to fit in the room. Earlier in the film a baby Jack is climbing up the stairs and stops with a look of amazement and the shot cuts to the empty attic with the light shining through the window.
They were to different actors than any we had seen. Unless maybe the kid is Jack. But I really can't make anything of it either. I'd like to think that maybe the attic is the world, being shown to a child by an adult. Its size and weight is making the man slouch under the pressure of its ceiling but the child has room to roam freely. But that's just me reaching.  Seemed like a David Lynch scene.
I agree with gravy boat. This movie really couldn't get any more grand; it deals, i think,  with the most profound dimensions of reality--the highest and most noble ones (time, eternity, good and evil).

B_Buster

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2011, 11:26:16 AM »
Ah, yes, I remember the scene now. I thought it had a David Lynch feel to it, too. I don't know that it had any special significance other than it was a great shot. I think with Malick that may be enough at times.
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Paul DeLouisiana

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2011, 11:40:13 AM »
http://nilesfilmfiles.blogspot.com/2011/06/song-of-himself-terrence-malicks-tree.html

Well the more I read this the more I think I'm gunna have to see it again next week. So many little things.

cas-vik

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2011, 12:10:32 PM »
http://nilesfilmfiles.blogspot.com/2011/06/song-of-himself-terrence-malicks-tree.html

Well the more I read this the more I think I'm gunna have to see it again next week. So many little things.


I'd say the film is very Heiddegerian.  Granted Heiddeger's Being and Time is a very difficult text, for me anyway.  I've tried and tried but a philosophy major I am not. An interesting little tidbit I remember hearing at some point was that Malick used to translate Heiddeger so he's very familiar with the concepts Heiddeger is putting out there.

Anyway, I loved the movie.  Found it deeply moving.  The religious aspect (the perception of heaven as everyone on the beach) seemed off putting and simplistic at first. But it's Sean Penn's point of view.  He's using his perception of heaven to come to terms with his loss.  Maybe.

The most perplexing image for me was the bridge.  That final shot could not have felt more loaded!  Still working on that.  Hope to see the movie again soon.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2011, 12:16:49 PM by cas-vik »

Paul DeLouisiana

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2011, 01:29:56 PM »
Ritz East is only 6 bucks on Wednesday. I'm betting the movie will stay in Philly til July.

Rick in Salt Lake

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2011, 06:20:23 PM »
Here's my take on the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs and the creation of the cosmos occur right after the news of the death of the son. When confronted with such a tragedy, a person can't help but ponder the meaning of life. Is this really what the history of the universe adds up to? A devastating tragedy? I read that Terence Malick's brother committed suicide at a very early age. I think The Tree of Life is his response, all these years later, to his brother's death.

I haven't seen the movie yet, so I might be truly full of shit. But I read a few article on "The Tree of Life" and I rather got the impression that the same forces that act through the creation of the cosmos and the deal with the dinosaurs are the same forces that enact, in microcosm, through the family in the movie.

Does that make sence in the context of the movie?
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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2011, 09:18:17 AM »
The film is a masterpiece. You're either feelin' it or yer not.

Oh, LOVED the Paul F. Tompkins cameo as the clown in the dunktank!


 

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