As we approach the biggest event of the year in Hollywood, let’s glance back at one of the movies that I was surprised to see on last year’s list of nominees – The Tree Of Life. Not that I don’t think it deserved to be there, it’s just that I am always surprised to see Terrence Malick’s films in that category (previously it was The Thin Red Line). He’s someone whose brain I would love to pick, as he’s a specific individual in the movie industry today. He writes and directs most of his films, and does so with an incredible poetic sensuality. His movies are not for everyone. In fact, I am inclined to think that majority of those who saw The Tree Of Life were bored and hated it. One has to be in a mood to see a contemplative, philosophical movie that doesn’t seek to tell a linear, comprehensive story, but represents human experience through a dreamy, nostalgic lens.
I’ve never seen a movie that better recreated memories of childhood (and I’ve seen more than my share of films). It was like peeking into a reminiscent person’s brain (which was the intent). Filled with dispersed sunlight and dancing curtains these images are self sufficient in their beauty. They’ll make you close your eyes (after the movie is over, of course) and think back to the early years of your own life.
One of my favourite recollections is from when I was two and a half years old. My mom was in the hospital pregnant with my brother, and my dad and I went to bring her some proper food. She was in a ward where no visitations were allowed, so we went to the alley behind the building to wait until she appeared at one of the windows. As if we were in a movie, mom began lowering a rope to us so that dad could tie the bag of food to it. It was a windy day, and mom had had to wrap the end of the rope around some newspapers to weight it down. The cord was still in midair when the gust picked it up and undid the knot. I watched in awe as the freed papers danced gracefully above me like it was an otherworldly scene.
That is how I felt for those two hours while I watched The Tree Of Life.
What is your favourite childhood memory?