The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is a film of endless beginnings.

The Tree of Life is a film of end­less beginnings.

The Tree of Life restored my faith in a cin­e­ma that tran­scends enter­tain­ment. I walked in know­ing noth­ing about the film, except that it won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Fes­ti­val. What I dis­cov­ered is a film that exists almost in spite of itself, as if it were obliv­i­ous to the fact that at the same mul­ti­plex a com­e­dy sequel, a thriller remake and a com­ic book adap­ta­tion all played to packed audi­ences — yet it is the sto­ry of those very audi­ences, the broth­ers, moth­ers and fathers amongst them, about you and me and our fears and hopes and dreams.

Sami­ra and I watched it at 12 a.m. in an almost emp­ty the­ater, which got emp­ti­er as the film pro­gressed. And every few min­utes I reached for her arm and squeezed it, to assure myself she’s still there, that the woman I love is right next to me… if only for now, while we’re both here, while we’re alive.

“Tell us a sto­ry from before we can remember.”

I rec­og­nized ele­ments of Stan­ley Kubrick­’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, of my hero Krzysztof Kies­lowski’s Three Col­ors Tril­o­gy, and of course of direc­tor Ter­rence Mal­ick­’s own med­i­ta­tive films, which come only once every sev­er­al years and leave us with a sweet after­taste until the next one comes along. But most impor­tant­ly, I rec­og­nized ele­ments of my own mem­o­ry, with its won­der­ful­ly frag­ment­ed images and its infi­nite­ly nuanced meanings.

This is not a review, nor is it a cri­tique. It is a thank you note to the hand­ful of film­mak­ers out there who still believe in the pow­er of cin­e­ma to engage, to chal­lenge and, ulti­mate­ly, to inspire.

Direct­ed by Ter­rence Mal­ickStar­ring Brad Pitt, Sean PennJes­si­ca Chas­tain, Hunter McCrack­en and Laramie Eppler.

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