Of cinema, life and the cosmos

Jun 28, 2013, 23:15 IST | Hassan M Kamal

Catch American filmmaker Terrence Malick's three best films at the Russian Centre this Sunday

Known for their extraordinary visuals and engaging narrative, three of American director Terrence Malick’s best films will be screened in a one-day movie marathon at the Russian Centre, this weekend. The selection includes one of Malick’s earliest works Days of Heaven, and the two most recent films The Tree of Life and To The Wonder.

Brad Pitt in a still from the film The Tree of Life (2011), directed by Terrence Malick

The filmmaker has made just eight films in his career, including a short, but they are considered to be some of the most visually enthralling films ever --from his feature film debut, Badlands, where he chronicled a couple on a crime spree, played by Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, to the most recent, To The Wonder, which looks into human emotions and relationships.

Richard Gere in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978). The film won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography

“Malick’s films are a visual treat. They are not about action, but more about relationships and love, and that makes him different. Each of the three films are a gift of beautiful images and narrative,” shares Ronak Dixit, curator of the one-day festival organised by Enlighten Film Society.

Ben Affleck and Rachel Weisz in the film To The Wonder (2012), directed by film maker Terrence Malick 

Malick’s career as a director is broadly categorised into two innings. The first falls in between 1969 to 1978, during which he made two feature films --Badlands (1973), and Days of Heaven (1978). During the making of Days of Heaven, Malick and his crew spent two years in post-production experimenting with newer editing and voiceover techniques. The film, though, won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. “Days of Heaven is one of the most beautiful films; from the first opening scene to the last frame, its beauty leaves you speechless,” says Dixit.

Filmmaker Terrence Malick

His second innings came after a 20-year-gap with the film, The Thin Red Line, in 1998, which won him the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, 1999. He directed four other films including The Tree of Life (2011) and To The Wonder (2012), which are going to be screened at the festival. Dixit says that The Tree of Life is essential viewing for anyone who believes that cinema is a great art as it blends imaginary scenes from the cosmos, how life was created, and how it’s linked to God.

“It establishes instant connections to events that might have already happened in your own life, giving everyone a different experience, which, I believe, is a mark of a great artiste,” he reasons. Despite their keenness to showcase more of Malick’s works, the film society had to keep it to only three screenings due to the unavailability of prints and screening space.

12 pm: To The Wonder, 2012 (120 minutes)
2.30 pm: Days of Heaven, 1978 (95 minutes)
4.30 pm: The Tree of Life, 2011 (139 minutes)

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