Author Topic: The Tree of Life  (Read 111891 times)

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SiliasRuby

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #450 on: June 10, 2011, 01:27:18 AM »
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Snapshots of memories portrayed so vividly. Gave me this emotional rush that I couldn't deny. My heart ached at the family dynamics and brought me to an emotional brink. Yes, there wasn't much of a structured story and there could have been more of the family in this film. I strived for it but it ultimately moved me and for a agnostic for myself it gave me a sense of spiritual wonder in myself.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #451 on: June 10, 2011, 01:36:40 AM »
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Re: Impressionism

Again, I'm using the definition I found earlier...

the technique in art, literature, or music of conveying experience by capturing fleeting impressions of reality or of mood

This is in the movie, as one sort of transitionary element, but it is not the movie. Does that make sense? That's why I object to people calling it "an impressionistic movie," because as a whole it's not, at all.

Seriously, look at that definition again. ToL does far more than "convey experience" or "capture fleeting impressions." It's a very solidly grounded, clear, vivid movie with impressionistic elements, and they are not its substance.

And Samsong, I can't think of anything in this movie that is actually "abstract." Symbolism is not abstract, nor are the editing techniques and odd camera movements. This is another problem... If you're going to try to use visual art terms to describe a movie, you're already jumping from one medium to a very different one, and even if your definitions are accurate, the vocabulary of visual art doesn't really translate to a multidisciplinary medium like film.

Really, if someone were to represent ToL in an actual painting, it might have impressionistic brushstrokes around the edges, but in the center you'd have bold images, crystal-clear and even realist representations of characters, ideas, and scenes.

Tagging a movie this complex with one label, especially one as limiting as "impressionistic," which is not even proportionally supported by its content, seems like a big stretch, and an unnecessary one.

I mostly object to calling this "an impressionistic movie" because it's not only inaccurate, it's misleading. When I watched the movie, I started thinking "oh, yeah, this really is an impressionistic movie." But of course that was very early in the film, and it transitions away from that impressionism very quickly and becomes something entirely different and more complex. When you call it "an impressionistic movie," you're giving people exactly the wrong impression (so to speak), unless you add "...that becomes something else."
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #452 on: June 10, 2011, 01:49:21 AM »
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Another point about this before I forget...

Here's the biggest problem with seeing those fleeting images and concluding "this is an impressionistic movie." Those fleeting images eventually coalesce into something profoundly vivid. In other words, since they crystallized, they are not really "fleeting" at all.
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Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #453 on: June 10, 2011, 03:20:46 AM »
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The two of you are being equally clear.  Samsong is referring to thematic revelation within a blossoming narrative.  Jeremy Blackman is referring purely to the themes and their concreteness.  Each acknowledges the basic points of the other.
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samsong

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #454 on: June 10, 2011, 07:33:07 AM »
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yea i'm done.  ))<>((.  at the end of the day i don't think i'm going to ruin the tree of life for anyone by having described it as "impressionistic" or "abstract" and the person disagreeing with the use of those terms afterwards.

 in other news, seeing this again today.  making an effort to see it as many times as i can as i did with the new world during its theatrical run.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #455 on: June 10, 2011, 11:36:21 AM »
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This conversation probably made very little sense to onlookers, but trust me, it will make a lot more sense once you've seen the movie.

at the end of the day i don't think i'm going to ruin the tree of life for anyone by having described it as "impressionistic" or "abstract" and the person disagreeing with the use of those terms afterwards.

Yeah, I guess it's a personal thing. I felt misled by that description (though not yours), which was annoying, but really only a minor annoyance, as I don't actually expect marketing and reviews to accurately prepare me for a movie.

))<>((

Forever.
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Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #456 on: June 10, 2011, 12:40:54 PM »
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The conversation made sense to me.  I thought both of you did a really great job of explaining yourselves.

My day is:  Beginners @ 2:45, Midnight in Paris @ 4:35, and Tree of Life @ 6:50!!!!!!!!  FINALLY.  (Already made plans to see Tree of Life again tomorrow as well).
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #457 on: June 10, 2011, 01:07:53 PM »
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Some more very spoilery observations:

[spoiler]Those prismatic swirls that seemed to serve as chapter breaks... Did that remind anyone of Punch-Drunk Love, which had almost exactly the same thing? A knowing homage, or a coincidence?

Also, I should amend my previous comment about ToL not being "abstract." That's too big a claim, because there are so many shades of abstraction, and abstract does not really mean non-representational. (Though people usually mean "non-representational" when they say "abstract.")

The prismatic swirls are probably as abstract as ToL gets, but I think they're actually less abstract than for example an abstracted painting of a person, because I found them so specifically symbolic and directly representational. I think it was pretty clear that they represented Life Force (or whatever you want to call it), and using them as chapter breaks not so subtly makes the point that this Life Force runs through everything, from the macro to the micro.[/spoiler]
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Ravi

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #458 on: June 10, 2011, 02:03:18 PM »
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I would say "elliptical" rather than "abstract." Perhaps the creation of the universe stuff is abstract, but the 1950s scenes are elliptical.

Jeremy Blackman

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #459 on: June 10, 2011, 02:06:10 PM »
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That's a fantastic word for the 1950s scenes. "Elliptical" and "swirling" are better and more accurate words than "fleeting" (which I shouldn't have even used in my initial review). We could probably think of a dozen more words.

And I actually don't think the origins content itself is abstract at all. It has symbolic meaning, but the "footage" itself is completely representational; what we're seeing is exactly what it is.
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Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #460 on: June 11, 2011, 03:22:50 AM »
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It made my heart do backflips.  Its rich textures and rhythms are, as this thread attests, difficult to put into words immediately.  There's so much to say.  The audience I saw the film with was in rapt attention, transfixed, a connectedness that could be felt by harmonious responses to onscreen moments.  You form a relationship with the movie; a wonderful, damn meaningful union with the characters.  Even now I see Mrs. O'Brien's eyes when I close mine.  And so much of me still wants to be in Waco.

I'm sorry, it just blew me away.  It makes me sound like I'm writing in a diary, which the movie would be totally okay with, as it treats with equal seriousness major and minor human emotions, such emotions, such a sense of being and experiencing and feeling.  Immersion.  My eyes were bloodshot when we left and I wondered if I hadn't been blinking much.  I'm seeing it again first showing tomorrow and my thoughts are sure to grow.
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

Ghostboy

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #461 on: June 11, 2011, 08:23:11 AM »
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And so much of me still wants to be in Waco.

On its own, and reading it as a Texan, this statement is hilarious.

Ravi

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #462 on: June 11, 2011, 11:23:41 AM »
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And so much of me still wants to be in Waco.

On its own, and reading it as a Texan, this statement is hilarious.

You know Terrence Malick is a great filmmaker when he makes Waco look great.

Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #463 on: June 11, 2011, 11:32:53 AM »
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And so much of me still wants to be in Waco.

On its own, and reading it as a Texan, this statement is hilarious.

You know Terrence Malick is a great filmmaker when he makes Waco look great.

spoiler

Consider that we know it's Waco because the name is etched on the side of the truck spraying clouds of DDT (the children run and play in).
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

Ghostboy

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #464 on: June 12, 2011, 01:52:58 AM »
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Consider that we know it's Waco because the name is etched on the side of the truck spraying clouds of DDT (the children run and play in).

It almost made me laugh in the movie, too.

 

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