Posts Tagged ‘Terrence Malick’

And manage to successfully pull it off too. Now, ‘dare’ is a difficult term to describe.  Let’s try another definition. Do you read the back covers of the dvds where the synopsis of the film is printed? This is the list of the films whose brilliance can’t be summed up in those few lines, either in terms of the subject, story, story telling technique or execution. In no particular order.

1. 50/50 – There are stories that you tell and then there are stories that you have lived. And there’s no substitute for the latter. Nobody can tell that because nobody else has been there. Like Samuel Moaz’s Lebanon, 50/50 is inspired by screenwriter Will Reiser’s own story. Otherwise “cancer comedy” is a difficult genre to crack. The film finds the perfect fine balance between tragedy and comedy and is one of the nicest films of the year.

2. Michael – The subject is creepy and disturbing, the treatment is non-judgmental and brilliant. Inspired by real life events, the Austrian film directed by Markus Schleinzer revolves around the life of a pedophile who has locked up a 10-year old kid in the cellar. Its brilliance lies in the fact that it uses no gimmicks to show the day to day activities of the pedophile’s life and the predatory relationship between the two characters are on the verge of father-son equation, which gives it a human face.

3. The Cave Of Forgotten Dreams  – There is no doubt that 3D is here to stay and it’s a terrible news for people like us who wear glasses. The experience is not even rewarding because most of the films will serve the same purpose in 2D. This is where Werner Herzog scored over everyone else. Even with the new (3)D, trust the old Dude to show how it’s done. Watch this one to know what Depth is and how goregous it can look when captured in 3D. Exploring the Chauvet Cave, this documentary is a meditative piece on life, evolution and human existence.

4. That Girl In Yellow Boots – I was disappointed with this one but the magic of the film lies entirely in its making. Anurag Kashyap could dare to shoot a film in just 13 days and complete it too –  this story is going to be in textbooks of digital film making.

5. The Artist – The film is touted as one of the Oscar favorites now. But imagine, at a time when everyone is hell-bent on going 3D and motion capture, a filmmaker thought about making a black and white silent film. And how many people thought it was a joke? In the words of the filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius, “Nobody believed in the movie. Nobody wanted to put any money in the movie.” The story is nothing new but the story telling is so smart and charming that it will keep you hooked throughout.

6. Gandu – We can claim some credit for discovering this low-budget provocative piece from Calcutta. We uploaded its trailer twice, it was removed both times and we were warned that our account will be blocked. All because of the explicit nature of the content. But the film is much more than that. That thing called aesthetics, which is so rare in bollywood, is in abundance in Q’s Gandu. Plus, the bengali rap and the minimalist style gives it a distinct flavour. And if you have seen Q’s other films (here and here), you know that the filmmaker is not fluke, and he is not just selling sex and nudity.

7. Generation P – A heady cocktail of art, culture, religion, pop, politics, philosophy, advertising, consumerism and Che Guevara. This Russian film directed by Victor Ginzburg was in production for about five years and was the trippiest experience at the movies this year. Its daring in its subject, scale and story telling and the viewing experince was unique, to say the least. It makes fun of so many well-known advertising campaigns and strangely, it got the funding from all those brands which it makes fun of. Convincing everyone wasn’t an easy job but who said filmmaking is a cakewalk.

8.The Tree Of Life  – The Bollywood rule book says the bigger you aim, the dumber you have to be. And my guess is, the rule book is the same everywhere unless you are Terrence Malick. This film goes to the other extreme. Even with all the trappings that define a big hollywood film, this one is a meditative piece that doesn’t give a fuck about your IQ but needs complete submission and respects your EQ. Once you are inside Malick’s world, the experience is difficult to describe and all that you will crave for is some silence and space for your soul.

9. Midnight In Paris  – Trust Woody Allen to do something so ridiculous and still make it so charming. You will think about the absurdity of the plot, but Woody knows his characters and their lines to well that you will happily take the leap of faith. Its a difficult path to tread that could have turned completely messy. Writing anything more about it will kill the joy of discovering it. Watch it if you still haven’t.

10. We Need To Talk About Kevin – This film is like an antidote to The Tree Of Life. No, make that vice-versa. Like many other great films, this one doesn’t provide any easy answers but leave you with million questions. Revolving around a school massacre, Lynne Ramsay’s film is disturbing and will stay with you for hours after its over. It boldly portrays a scary relationship where the mother and son are being competitive to beat each other. Exploring the uncomfortable zones in a family affair, Kevin must have been a very difficult film to get a firm grasp on.

Other than these ten, there have many others which pushed the envelope in many ways. What’s your pick?

She used to be a teacher in an ICSE board school. But her kids were sent to another school where most Officers’ kids used to go. Her husband was a Chartered Accountant, and as most bongs like to flash their CA degree, he was no different. As kids, we always thought snob quotient was just for the Roys. And then one day her daughter lost an eye accidentally. A death in the family followed. She was no longer part of the Officers’ Wives club. Searching for answers, she found solace in my Granny’s words, whose life used to revolve around all the 33crore Hindu Gods. Some of them were family members too. She was searching for answers – why it happened to her daughter? She was the prettiest of them all, the mother always talked about her, a matter of pride. With an eye gone, it was a cruel joke on her beauty. And why that sudden death?

Ironically, the kids were inspired by Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan and were trying the tricks with homemade bows and arrows when one of the arrow hit her eye. With kids and Gods, its difficult to put the blame on anyone. If only she was careful, it could have been averted. The thought never left her. Family member’s death disturbed her more. She was restless till the complete transformation happened. She found a Guru, sandalwood tilak followed and prayer beads inside a small bag became her constant companion.

As kids with curious minds, it was baffling to notice the change. Mr. R had mellowed down too. Grief does strange things to us. Add guilt to it, and it’s difficult to cope with. A friend of mine stays away from civilisation, in the jungles of Mcleodganj. It’s been more than two decades, he still holds himself responsible for his brother’s suicide. His conversation with his father is limited, as he was the one who in a moment of rage had pointed out that the culprit was my friend. It pierced the young heart and hasn’t left it since then. As he struggles with his writing, voluntary work for an NGO and relationship issues, most of his nights are spent drinking till wee hours of morning.

Arun Shourie took another extreme route. He explored religion scriptures, went to all the Godmen and spiritual Gurus to find the answer to his son’s suffering. Conclusion – suffering refutes religion. It’s all in his new book, Does He Knows A Mother’s Heart. Click here to read excerpts from the book. And click here to see a video interview of his where he explains his beliefs and thought process.

Terrence Malick’s Tree Of Life is all this and much more.

His fifth film in the last four decades or so. If you are familiar with his work, the elements are all there. The sun, green, nature, insects, birds, water, life, death, birth, suffering and those meditative voice-overs. I believe Malick started pondering over those existential questions in its entirety from The Thin Red Line. In a world where you have to map the plot points after every 20 pages for the Hollywood Studios to green light your film, it’s a brave new world that Malick has been able to create. And voice-overs that don’t follow any pattern or technique. With Tree Of Life, he goes to the extreme. If it was possible to attach a camera to your thoughts when you are coming to terms with the death of someone close to your heart, this film captures all that and puts it out on the big screen. Do you think or dream in a linear fashion? The camera attached to the thoughts floats in the universe as your mind ponders over everything possible, and Malick tells an intimate story of hate, grief, guilt and redemption in that background.

In one of the most brutally honest sequence that i have ever seen on the big screen, young Jack contemplates if he can kill his father with just a single trick. And he will be safe because his revenge will look like an accident. My heart skipped a beat there because i was worried about the old Jack then, guilt would have killed him so ruthlessly. Keep all the morality aside, think if you ever felt the same during your growing up years. And may be that’s why we had a chapter in our Moral Education book where a son plans to kill his father because he is frustrated with his constant jibes about his son’s work. As the son is about to enter the father’s room, he overhears the conversation between his mother and father, she is comparing the son to the Moon but the dad says, even Moon has some black spots, his son doesn’t have any. The son breaks down.  In Tree Of Life, the son becomes the father. The son starts hating the father but he slowly transforms into him. He starts with mimicking him, and then dictating the world around him, just like his father. In that honesty, lies the brilliance of story telling. We all hate our dads for some reason, and yet, we all end up becoming like him. With the kind of comfort that mothers pampers us with, mostly they make it happen.

Tree Of Life needs complete submission. Its a meditative piece by a yogi filmmaker which transcends every possible limit set by this medium. Just go with lil’ patience, you might get lost at many places, like I did, but just let it all flow. You will come back to Malick for sure. Don’t worry on that part. And even if you don’t, its good to be lost in your thoughts once in a while

With Jack, we float in his thoughts, his world, his world view, his guilt and finally some redemption which is pure consolation. Because we all eventually make peace with ourselves at some point, create a new world in our thoughts/dreams and make it comfortable for our soul. The soul-shuddhi needs time and space. Seems Malick too did the same with this film as this Guardian article points out that his brother, Larry, committed suicide in Spain while studying guitar under the teacher Andrés Segovia in 1968. Umesh Kulkrani did his with Vihir.

I’m struggling with mine. How long will my Mcleodganj friend take, am not sure. And you?

POTD : The Tree Of Life – NO REFUND

Posted: June 24, 2011 by moifightclub in cinema, POTD
Tags: ,

Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life is soon going to get a theatrical release in India. All thanks to PVR. And so, here’s something that you must know and remember if you are clueless about the film. If you know about the film, am sure you are all set to book your tickets.

This was put oustide an arthouse theater in Stamford.

(PS – We should have something like this for No Smoking. Right? Bipasha Basu’s item number has got nothing to do with the film. You can enjoy it on your tv too 😉

Tip – Auteurmark/Aseem Chhabra