Experimental

The Tree of Life (2011)

Film #16: The Tree of Life (2011)

The Tree of Life is probably the most controversial film nominated for an Oscar this year. It’s not controversial because of any graphic violence. It’s not controversial because of any sexual imagery. Rather, it’s controversial because some people have complained that it’s too “artsy”. Too “experimental”. People have literally walked out of theaters during the film. They’ve even demanded refunds, apparently because they didn’t “get it”. I’ve gone through the IMDb message boards for this movie, and it’s riddled with posts asking “what’s the point?”. I knew all of this before sitting down for Terrence Malick’s latest endeavor (his first since 2005’s The New World), and, as such, I was prepared for some real Stan Brakhage-type craziness.

Instead, I got a quiet, philosophical, and admittedly ambitious film that is among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

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Eraserhead (1977)

After watching Dune as my first David Lynch film, I realized that he might best be approached in a chronological fashion. So I rented Eraserhead, Lynch’s first feature, and sat down to watch it, unaware of what I was in for. I of course knew a bit of Lynch’s reputation as a filmmaker, but no amount of reading or talking about him could prepare me for the surreal grotesque nightmare that is Eraserhead.

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