Turns out I wanted to see a good movie.
Back in University, one of my most favorite classes of my entire degree was film studies.
It's such a powerful art form, just has it all! There's dialogue and image and music all working to create... an experience. And yet within that experience we are subject to the perspective of the story-teller, sculpting what we see and how and what we hear, to influence what we feel and think.
I'm playing catch-up trying to get ready for a "Oscar Party" we're attending, trying to familiarize myself with the nominations.
So while Ben spent the night being sick, I watched Tree of Life. (trailer anyone??)
One critic wrote
The Tree of Life is maddening, exhilarating, gorgeous, ponderous, insightful, pretentious, epic, shallow, beautiful, and strange — essentially the apotheosis of Terrence Malick’s entire career. It will divide audiences like few films have in recent years.Apparently at the Cannes Film Festival it got simultaneous applause and boos.
I would have been applauding. But I get the boos.
I think I dozed off during the long drawn out creation scenes...woke up to a dinosaur a little confused.
Oh but there were other scenes I just held by breath.
I'm want to write about it. So bad. But I'm struggling, because the whole thing was such an.... experience. I keep using that word don't I. There was only a handful of dialogue because the concepts it was conveying were slightly beyond words.
Enough blabbering... why did I love the movie?
First, I loved the mother character. She represented the "way of grace" VS the "way of nature" or that which thinks of itself, personified by the father.
There were all these wonderful scenes of a child's life, enveloped in a world with his mother, his safety, his joy, his everything. It wasn't what she said to them, or did for them, it was just HER, being there, letting them experience life WITH her.
It made me think about what my boys lives would look like if filtered through a lens representing their experience. Would it be warma and light filled? twirling and free? exciting but calm?
As the main character grows up, he enters more his fathers world, where expectations, fear and harshness seep in, making him question his own worth and goodness.
"Mother, Father, always you wrestle inside me. Always you will."
The haunting nature of our parents influence,
our lingering desires to be like them but to not be them too.
It was interesting watching the psychology of boys, played out. Again, I'm finding my head filled with images and scenes that gave me a new understanding of the roughness of boys, but in very intangible, indescribable ways.
This films emotion was better than words. And I like words, a lot.
The last scene, for anyone needing nice narrative, "makes sense" endings, would drive you bonkers.
I loved it.
It was mercy and grace, washing over not just these characters and their story, but everyone.
It was the hope that all would be made right, that all could be forgiven. That anything, no matter how soul crushing, one day we can be at peace with it.
Not resolution or restitution or even change. Just acceptance. Only peace. Peace born of Grace -- gentle, sweet, soft, and encompassing.
I'm going to stop now, because my clumsy words are in no way touching the glory I felt the film offered.
There are many films I can watch and forget almost instantly.
This was not one of them.
It's imagery, floats in my mind. Refusing to be forgotten, even if it wasn't completely understood.
Whispering their meanings. At least their meanings to me.
I hate reading comprehension tests always have. I think they try to objectify art. Which if they succeed, in my mind, they destroy it. That is part of the power of the arts to me. That we all bring who we are and what we've experienced to it and that in part shapes what we take away from that piece of art. That our own perspective becomes one of the factors.
My first English professor did not agree. At first. He was a sad man, who found the dismal in everything. In a way, sought it. It baffled him that I could always find messages of hope, in even the darkest of pieces. Because, again that was what I was seeking.
Maybe Terrence Malick would hate that. But I don't think you make a film like Tree of Life without expecting people to interpret it to fill their own needs. In many ways, creative expressions are usually an outflow of needs. Needs to understand or be understood. Needs to create meaning within our lives, or find meaning in the lives we've created. Needs to examine the darkness and hopefully discover some light. (Oh my English prof would have hated this:)
I think a character from another nominated film "Midnight in Paris" put it best
“The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.”
I made up my mind that nothing,
nothing was gonna stop me,
not even me.
Loved that line. Loved the movie.
Loved this whole week, remembering how much I love a good film.
I get discouraged by the filth and just waste of life movies that there seem to be no end to.
It was refreshing to remember the feeling of watching credits roll and not wanting to move, because your just so glad you got to experience what you did the last 2 hours.
To me a good movie changes you. Gives it's audience something. Hope. Courage. Faith.
And they "give" their messages in such a beautifully powerful way, that they, like any good artform become a part of those who experience them.
And this week, that was me.
PS If your wondering how the heck I watched that many movies this week? A few got watched in the middle of the night, with Aaron playing with my hair. And my house is totally trashed!!!
I'll clean next week.