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‘Voyage of Time’: How Terrence Malick Made His Documentary About the Birth of the Stars and the Future of Mankind

Malick's long-awaited documentary is about to premiere in Venice.

Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time”

News of a new Terrence Malick movie inspires a fervor among cinephiles like few others, in part because they used to be so rare: Malick made just five films between 1973 and 2011. He’s about to release his third since then, and The Film Stage has quite the rundown of its origins. “Voyage of Time” will soon screen at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals before coming to IMAX in October, which means there’s still plenty of time to obsess over the making of this nonfiction companion to “The Tree of Life” about the birth of the stars and the future of mankind.

The film will screen in two different formats: “Life’s Journey” is 90 minutes long and narrated by Cate Blanchett, while “The IMAX Experience” clocks in at 40 minutes and will be accompanied by the dulcet tones of Brad Pitt. The former’s voiceover is said to be “more searching and poignant, an urgent inquiry from a child of earth to the mother of all”; the latter is described as “more awestruck and explanatory.” Neither sounds likely to change many viewers’ minds about Malick, whose lyrical approach has only proven more divisive in recent years.

READ MORE: ‘Voyage Of Time’ Trailer: Terrence Malick Embarks On His Most Ambitious Journey Ever

The filmmaker apparently started the process by reaching out to producers Sarah Green and Nick Gonda, not with a script but with two ruminative quotations:

“Is no one inspired by our present picture of the universe? Our poets do not write about it; our artists do not try to portray this remarkable thing. The value of science remains unsung by singers: you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.” —Richard Feynman

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead — his eyes are closed.” —Albert Einstein

READ MORE: ‘Voyage of Time’ Exclusive Poster: Terrence Malick’s Journey Through The Cosmos Hits IMAX This Fall

The Film Stage has much more, including conversations with scientific experts Malick consulted with and a comprehensive breakdown of the film’s visual and sonic inspirations. Read their full piece here.

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