Take a Look at Terrence Malick’s Elemental Obsessions With ‘Malick: Fire and Water’

Terrence Malcik’s emotionally symphonic world of beauty vacillates between pleasure and pain, divinity and destruction, told through shadows of life that play out like memories rather than moments. And whether or not you were dazzled by To the Wonder, his latest and perhaps most divisive, there’s a undeniable grace there that exists and breathes inside all of his work. My favorite moments in To the Wonder had little to do with the characters, finding transfixed by his portrayal of the physical modern world—from the vacant fields of Oklahoma to the machines that watch over us with loving grace, and the ways in which he uses the camera like a gentle gust of wind to guide us. 

And when it comes to nature, Malick has always had an affinity for the elements of fire and water. For someone whose work plays so heavily with the philosophy and ideals of religion, it would be hard not to see his obsession with these elements as the juxtaposition of heaven and hell. His films are filled with sparks that ignite and liquids that soothe but oddly, To the Wonder was sans those elements in any strong way. 

But now, to indulge in your own obsession with Malick’s auteuristic harmony, you can watch "Malick: Fire & Water’ a brief but interesting super cut of his use of the two elements throughout his oeuvre. The description for the video reads:

Of all the recurring signatures of Malick, his use of fire and water might be the most telling, in part because there’s a significant shift between early Malick (Badlands & Days of Heaven) and late Malick (The Thin Red Line, The New World, The Tree of Life & To the Wonder). Early Malick favors fire. Late Malick favors water. In his most recent film, Malick forgoes fire altogether for the first time in his career. Water reigns.

Take a look below.

Malick // Fire & Water from kogonada on Vimeo.