Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Night Cinema

Tree of Life

It’s not often I don’t have an opinion on something, but I haven’t got one yet on Tree of Life (Dir. Terrence Malick)  It’s very deep and is trying to say some profound things about the meaning of life.  The trouble is I’m not sure if it does, and if it does I’m not sure what it is saying.  It’s about life, the universe and everything (quite literally) and I’ve seen it described as impressionistic.  I think the thing that makes it difficult is that it appears to have a narrative structure, but that isn’t the thing that’s important; what’s important are the questions it raises in the viewer about their own life.  I think I’ll watch it again, but I’ll need to be in the right mood.

It fails the Bechdel test and I noticed.  I was also troubled by a casual portrayal of domestic violence, but maybe I was meant to be troubled.

The Way

In contrast to Tree of Life I totally got The Way, and loved it.  It’s a more straightforward narrative, with a basically simple story line, but the simplicity of the story-telling brings out the beauty and profundity of the human relationships portrayed.  It’s a film about a father dealing with the death of his son, starring Martin Sheen, directed by his son Emilio Estevez (who makes cameo appearances as the son) and there’s something quite touching about a father and son working through some stuff like this; in that sense it’s a bit like “On Golden Pond” where Henry and Jane Fonda worked together shortly before Henry’s death. 

This also fails the Bechdel test but I didn’t notice so much; but it’s a shame that such a quality film didn’t manage some better women.  Why is it that “women” films are seen as a niche market, whereas a film like this which is a film about men’s relationships is seen as a film about human relationships?

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