(La incluimos según aparece en la web de Perceval Press. Está en inglés, lo sentimos).
«Tell us a story from before we remember»
Yesterday, I finally got the chance to watch Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE. As soon as it was over I watched it again. I’ll probably see it a third time before long. Our time on this earth is short, but some stories do bear repeated viewing.
More often than not, I feel that prizes given to movies, directors, and performers in Cannes (where Malick’s movie won the Palme D’or this year) and at other film festivals, not to mention at just about any award show in the world, result from wrong-headed choices based more on political, personal or public relations-driven factors than on the purely creative merits of those anointed as winners. Once the promotional fairy dust settles and eventually vanishes, usually 6 months to a year after such awards are given, one wonders how candidates that obviously were more-deserving could have so frequently been overlooked in favour of adroitly-hyped mediocrities. On further reflection, time usually tells us some of the truth about who might have been the more just candidates or winners, but the damage will have been done and there is nothing movie fans can do but move on. Move on, that is, to a new season likely to see critics, jurors and regular moviegoers all letting ourselves be hoodwinked at some point, followed by seemingly endless debates over the many poor conclusions we consequently drew in the heat of the marketing moment.
I personally feel that THE TREE OF LIFE has deserved the official recognition and rewards for its extraordinary qualities. It is the kind of cinematic accomplishment that stands apart from other movies, if not necessarily above all of them. Stands apart from aspects of other works that can reasonably be compared. Seems part of another genre, another medium. Some critics have complained in so many words that this movie, though beautifully filmed, is all over the place and tries too hard to be profound. Sean Penn, one of the principal players in this story, has recently spoken out publicly against the editing choices made by Malick, lamenting in particular the way his character ends up coming across (or not coming across) in the final cut of the movie. I found no fault with Sean’s or any other actor’s performance, no fault with the photography, music, story-telling. All was just as it needed to be, just so and so true. All elements appeared to have melded, to have been carefully synchronised by Malick in a work of art that stands miraculously and effortlessly alone. It is, in my opinion, a movie story even more profoundly moving than the promotional trailer and early word led us to hope it might be, well beside the negative critiques that some have attempted against it. A sincere and well-enacted study of compassion with endless mercy and love of life in every frame. What’s there to rail against here? Who other than Malick could have told a story with such meticulous attention to detail and musical timing, such graceful boldness, unpretentious dignity and undiluted affection for people and things?
Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.
Needless to say, I strongly recommend this movie to anyone who has not seen it, and also to anyone who has seen it but perhaps did not take much inspiration from it on first viewing – or was swayed by the more negative reviews it received from some journalists.
7 septiembre 2011