There may be no living director as singular and mystifying today as Terrence Malick. His films are as close as can be to cinematic operas —rich, vibrant stories, heavy on imagery, sound and score. They focus on the subtle, small, introspective yet monumental moments in life, rather than the outward and obvious.
Over his 40-plus year career, the increasingly prolific director —he has made three films in the past decade, will debut “Knight Of Cups” next month in Berlin, and has a couple more pictures brewing— has tackled subjects as varied as they come. From World War II to Pocahontas to classic Americana, Malick’s films all share a certain je ne sais quoi. His aesthetic is truly unique and undeniably gorgeous (regardless the reception they receive).
Rachel Glassman’s short study on the recurring motifs Malick uses in his films offers a glimpse at what defines his work. It’s easy to look at these clips edited together and notice that Malick uses a lot of imagery of people in water, particularly submerged in houses or fully dressed, which we normally wouldn’t expect of a swimmer. And there are a lot of shots of hands touching but barely holding.
More curious is how every clip combines seamlessly, as if Glassman’s montage is a trailer for a Malick film. And those who have experienced the director’s work before can likely agree that trailers for his films (and the films themselves) can be just as cryptic, expansive, and beautiful as the tribute Glassman has paid him.
Watch the entire three and a half minute video below. [Via 35mm]