August Diehl as Franz Jägerstätter in Terrence Malick's A Hidden Life
August Diehl as Franz Jägerstätter in Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life

“The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

— George Eliot, Middlemarch


Terrence Malick‘s A Hidden Life has debuted at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It is the American filmmaker’s second work to be based on the events of the Second World War, and tells the story of Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector who was executed by the Nazis in 1943. Writing for The Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang has praised Malick’s latest work as a return to form and “a spiritual call to arms”:

“At its simplest level, A Hidden Life exists to disprove the snarling Nazi soldiers we hear telling Franz that his act of protest is meaningless and that no one will ever remember him. (They have admittedly already been disproved, thanks to the scholarship of Gordon Zahn and Thomas Merton, as well as a 2007 papal declaration of Jägerstätter as a martyr.) But it is also a call for moral vigilance in any era, the present one very much included…”

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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“‘No one expects a musician to play a song the same way every night.’ It was this impulse to explore different rhythms and intonations in an already completed work, says our executive producer Kim Hendrickson, that led the visionary director Terrence Malick to dive into reediting one of his most acclaimed films, 2011’s The Tree of Life. The three-hour-plus version he ultimately came up with—just released as part of our new edition, which features the theatrical cut that remains Malick’s preferred form—includes fifty minutes of never-before-seen footage. For fans wondering how this all came about, here’s a look at the process behind one of the most complex and challenging projects we’ve ever undertaken.”

— The Criterion Collection

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“When asked why it makes her emotional, Chastain said that she ‘was playing a character who was the embodiment of love, so every day was just filled with so much joy.’

‘I was meditating on expanding my heart space and living with an open heart,’ she says. ‘Of course it affects you and how you treat other people. I loved those little boys so much, and I loved Terry so much. Watching the movie and seeing Mrs. O’Brien running through the streets with those little boys, I remember how wonderful it was. I’m heartsick for it.'”

IndieWire

“As prompts for the actors, Malick shared representative works of art and literature. For [Ben] Affleck, he suggested Fitzgerald, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. (Affleck read Martin Heidegger on his own, having known that Malick had translated one of the German philosopher’s works as a grad student.) For [Olga] Kurylenko, he also recommended Tolstoy and Dostoevsky — specifically, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Idiot. ‘Those books were, in a way, his script,’ she says. But he did more than give the actors the books; he suggested ways to approach the texts and characters to focus on. So, for example, he recommended that Kurylenko read The Idiot with a particular eye on two characters: the young and prideful Aglaya Yepanchin, and the fallen, tragic Nastassya Filippovna. ‘He wanted me to combine their influences — the romantic and innocent side, with the insolent and daring side. ‘For some reason, you only ever see that combination in Russian characters,’ he said to me.'”

— Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

The project is set to star August Diehl. Source: Flavorwire.

Trevor Logan unpacks some of the religious and philosophical allusions of Terrence Malick’s recent film. Thank you to Caleb Sivyer for the link.

Production designer and long-term Malick collaborator discusses working on Knight of Cups.

Richard Brody discusses the American director’s new film about Hollywood ennui
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Christian Bale and Natalie Portman star in Knight of Cups (2015)
Perhaps no film in the history of cinema follows the movement of memory as faithfully, as passionately, or as profoundly as Terrence Malick’s new film, “Knight of Cups.” It’s an instant classic in several genres—the confessional, the inside-Hollywood story, the Dantesque midlife-crisis drama, the religious quest, the romantic struggle, the sexual reverie, the family melodrama—because the protagonist’s life, like most people’s lives, involves intertwined strains of activity that don’t just overlap but are inseparable from each other. The movie runs less than two hours and its focus is intimate, but its span seems enormous—not least because Malick has made a character who’s something of an alter ego, and he endows that character with an artistic identity and imagination as vast and as vital as his own.

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An abridgement of Simon Critchley’s landmark essay on the 1999 film
Wittgenstein asks a question, which sounds like the first line of a joke: ‘How does one philosopher address another?’ To which the unfunny and perplexing riposte is: ‘Take your time’. Terrence Malick is evidently someone who takes his time. Since his first movie, Badlands, was premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1973, he has directed just two more: Days of Heaven, in 1979, and then nearly a 20 year gap until the long-awaited 1998 movie, The Thin Red Line, which is the topic of this essay.

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Yvonne Baby spoke to the American filmmaker in Paris on 17 May 1979. While Malick has often shunned the media spotlight, he spoke candidly about the process of making his 1978 film, Days of Heaven

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Andrew Wyeth, Christina's World (1948)
Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World (1948)

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