The other day my aunt and I were exchanging movie lists. I told her that if there was one movie above all to rent it was The Tree of Life. I had watched it earlier this year for the first time and found myself at a complete loss of words after. The movie left me in a funk. It was like someone had reached into the depths of my subconscious and extracted images that I already knew but had not yet attached meaning. I looked at my husband, who begrudgingly joined me for that two and a half hour daydream and smiled. He didn’t exactly share in my enthusiasm. If you ever find yourself in the deep recesses of your mind contemplating how we got here or what does it mean to be human and on a giant planet called earth and what about other universes… this movie is for you.
*edited to add* I forgot to tell you one thing … the great part about how the day we talked I sat down in a rare moment of stillness in my home and turned on the television to find in three short minutes, The Tree of Life would begin on HBO ( they have been replaying it lately so check your listings). I tuned in to HD, hit record and then announced to anyone listening on twitter or facebook COME WATCH with me. Totally unscripted my kids (ages 6 and 15) decided to join and flanked me like bookends. We watched together in silence. It was everything I could have wanted.
The movie poster alone makes me want to pick up a camera and document. I ordered my own full length copy for my collection, it should be here any day.
The movie stars Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, its a story of a family from Waco Texas in 1956 who losses a son, much of the movie is played out through the eyes of the oldest of three boys (played by Sean Penn). Its about not only the of a child but the death of innocence. From a photographers stand point, every scene is cinematographic gold. Emmanuel Lubezki (cinematographer Children of Men) has an artistic view of the world, he has found success channeling this through the medium of cinematography. In The Tree of Life, the camera angle seems to almost always start at ground level and moves up. It is all about perspective. If you want to become a better photographer WATCH THIS FILM it will teach you all about perspective.
Let go of your conventional idea of what a movie should be and let this one just happen.
And tell me this music does not haunt you, take a listen (below). The soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat is ethereal but does not include many of the songs you hear through out. Gathering them all has become a bit of a scavenger hunt for me. You can find the song, Funeral Canticle on the 4 song album from John Tavener’s Eternity’s Sunrise on iTunes. You may remember John Tavener’s Song For Athene that played during Princess Diana’s funeral on Sept 6th 1997.