Today, we’re celebrating the seventy-third birthday of one of American cinema’s most lyrical and enigmatic storytellers. Over the course of more than four decades, Terrence Malick has established a distinctive aesthetic that juxtaposes the majestic beauty of nature with the subtle dynamics of human relationships. Whether he’s depicting the tale of two lovers on a killing spree or crafting a poetic vision of seventeenth-century America, his visually captivating films push at the boundaries of cinematic expression. In his honor, we’ve gathered some of our essays and videos about his work:
- In this video from our release of Malick’s Badlands, editor Billy Weber, a frequent Malick collaborator, describes the origins of the film’s iconic voiceover.
- Michael Almereyda writes on the director’s brief but unforgettable cameo in the film: “It’s a terrifically restrained, persuasive performance, and worth savoring—a glimpse of the visionary filmmaker, twenty-eight years old, at the start of an unconventionally brilliant career, before he took the Kubrickian high road and disappeared into a strict vow of silence and invisibility, allowing no further cameos, interviews, photographs, or even the slightest public evidence that his films emanate from a knowable human source.”
- Wander through a selection of Malick’s sweeping landscapes.
- Read Adrian Martin’s essay on the philosophical resonance of Malick’s dreamlike turn-of-the-century tale Days of Heaven: “Malick is a true poet of the ephemeral: the epiphanies that structure his films, beginning with Days of Heaven, are ones that flare up suddenly and die away just as quickly, with the uttering of a single line (like ‘She loved the farmer’), the flight of a bird or the launching of a plane, the flickering of a candle or the passing of a wind over the grass. Nothing is ever insisted upon or lingered on in his films; that is why they reveal subtly different arrangements of event, mood, and meaning each time we see them.”
- Take a closer look at the stunning work of Malick’s longtime production designer, Jack Fisk.
- David Sterritt makes the case for The Thin Red Line as one of the all-time great war films, praising its “powerfully written, superbly acted story that casts new light on his characteristic themes of nature and culture, thought and language, humanity and inhumanity, paradise lost and transcendence found.”
- The New World star Colin Farrell recalls the “openness and honesty” that Malick shared with his collaborators on set.
- In his essay on The New World, Tom Gunning examines the way Malick’s cinema “dwells on space, both the historical and geographic space that has been central to the American experience and the cinematic space created through editing and camera movement.”