Unpacking Terrence Malick’s Most ‘Malickian’ Moments

Terrence Malick filming ‘The Tree of Life’

When Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life landed upon us in 2011, it was as divisive for some as it was revelatory for others. Not everyone could swallow the spiritually swayed narrative, let alone the diversion into the creation of the universe and dinosaurs. But make no doubt about it: No filmmaker has been emulated more in the last five years.

Magic hour and light flares have gone mainstream, with the fluid romanticism of Malick’s gaze and regular cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s eye a genre of its own, to the point that Beyoncé’s Lemonade is being described as “Malickian.” Though his subsequent narratives—To the Wonder, Knight of Cups—have failed to feed his fans quite like The Tree of Life, excitement surrounding the forthcoming IMAX release of his 30-years-in-the-making Voyage of Time—a documentary companion piece that will go back to the beginning of time and into our eventual demise—is sure to reach fever pitch by the time it’s released on October 7.

The film’s synopsis touts being a “celebration of the earth” that suggests a dance between the life-death and micro-macro nature of all things. Tree of Life star Brad Pitt narrates the condensed IMAX version, while Knight of Cups collaborator Cate Blanchett will lend her voice to the 35mm feature. Until an official trailer is released, feast your eyes on some of Malick’s most Malickian moments:


The Tree of Life

To the Wonder

The Thin Red Line

The New World

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