"[The audition] was mute," Kurylenko reveals. "I spent an hour doing five different scenes that he had described. I had to say nothing. It was all in the eyes. Can you believe that? That was difficult, believe me."
he stole that from kubrick.
he is kubrick.
but then everyone would know that if they'd seen the Aryan Papers video installation
i posted (please ignore the thread derailment). kubrick's audition process for Johanna ter Steege was similarly focussed on physicality of her performance. Olga Kurylenko's idea of what malick was looking for, that it was all in the eyes, may well be true but it's quite possible that he was also just looking at her hands or more likely her whole being. the idea is that this upcoming romantic drama might be Malick's first full on representative foray into the female theme.
to be honest his first exploration of the fairer sex is better phrased as the first time he distanced himself from masculine introspection. in this sense the first such instance would have been after the thin red line. the impenetrability of the female mindset is also too pessimistic a term for it, instead it's closer to an attempt to get at the nature of that which is most distant from our core definition of self -- and finding that it is a part of us too. in any case this all actually started with The New World, with its direct allusion between the mother and the earth, the mother and the water, pocohantas and the water. not so bluntly as that but i hope you get the bigger picture. just look to the start of the film, with pocohantas (UNNAMED OF COURSE) speaking directly through and with the water, her fluid motions as she dances with the wind in the fields, and the ending of the film as a return to the source. take my word for it, it's there.
and so while the film ostensibly is still necessarily about the conquerors, at least allowing them to drive the plot, the medium by which it plays seems to flow without restriction,. the narrative feels as freeflowing as the spirit that is released at the end of the film. malick is not concerned with male/female as he is concerned with the illusion of division in general. the good/evil ambiguity in thin red line transitions to the foreign/native in The New World. assigning oppositional values to things, as any Derridean knows, brings about the realisation that the one invariably embodies or has elements of the other. the journey that MAN takes in the new world is that of encountering, opposing, and ultimately surrendering to nature. the expedition from one land to another lies on the idea that stability awaits at either end. the journey itself is accepted to be transitional but what john smith learns is that the earth is all in transition, he returns to pocohantas with the illusion that her affection remains unchanged but any desire she had (she has his traits too) has given way to the effects of time.
while Tree of Life seems to be about men and boys again, the coming of age and specifically VERBALLY focussing on the father figure in any plot description we've seen so far, the female force must be the life cycle of the universe. the foreign/native illusion of the new world gives way to an exploration of the notion that our nature is shaped at all rather than gradually revealed. shaped/revealed. the differece in those two statements is the pull of time, one is caused the other is discovered. discovered in the sense of unveiling. the progression of the main human narrative which is shaped internally is now to be directly contrasted with the utterly massive life of the universe which is incomprehensibly distant in time, size, and all other measurements of scale. the connection between these two narratives is as natural as the relation between male and female, between native and foreign, us and the other, they all exist in a state of becoming each other.
the image this conjures in my mind is perfectly described at the end of the thin red line. it elucidates with such clarity all the things that i've discussed, it describes the feeling caught in the moment where the child becomes the man - looking back at the moment in childhood where the change occurred, the source, which is an instant as miniscule and incomprehensible as the passage of human life in the scale of the universe -- malick in the Tree of Life is looking at nature as an instant where everything meets itself, the release at the end of the thin red line corresponds directly to that in the new world, the scene i'm thinking of is where the soldier is looking at the land fading in the distance as he travels across the water and says the following:
I'm getting older now.
By no means old, but older.
Where is it that we were together?
Who were you that l lived with?
Darkness from light.
Strife from love.
Are they the workings of one mind?
The features of the same face?
Oh, my soul,
let me be in you now.
Look out through my eyes.
Look out at the things you made.
All things shining.