So opens The Tree of Life, a visually stunning American film that intersperses the story of one man’s childhood memories in 1950s Texas with powerful images of the origins of life on Earth, while exploring concepts of nature versus grace.
I’ll tell you, I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I’m little confused as to the esoteric concepts explored in this movie. And it seems that I’m not alone.
Yes, Roger Ebert gave it four (out of 4) stars with a glowing review, “The Tree of Life is a film of vast ambition and deep humility, attempting no less than to encompass all of existence and view it through the prism of a few infinitesimal lives. The only other film I’ve seen with this boldness of vision is Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and it lacked Malick’s fierce evocation of human feeling.” (“The Tree of Life”. Chicago Sun Times (Chicago). June 2, 2011. via Wikipedia)
But the film holds a 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel, has less effusive sentiments, “Glibly put, this challenging time-skipping rumination is the big screen equivalent of watching that “Tree” grow.”
I suspect that this is one of those films that is best experienced (and described) visually. Let’s get to that, but first, I’m excited to announce a special opportunity for photographers – HitFlix’s The Tree of Life Photo Competition. Enter to win a Canon EOS Rebel and a copy of the Blu-ray combo pack of the The Tree of Life, to be released on October 11, 2011. Contest closes October 16th, 2011.
Film Locations: The Tree of Life
“The only way to be happy is to love. Unless you love, your life will flash by.” (voice over by Mrs. O’Brien – Jessica Chastain)
As the second largest state in the US, Texas features a variety of climatic regions, allowing for really different, yet beautiful, natural sights. Rivers define three of its borders, and a tour of the state will take you past deserts, prairies, grasslands, forests, and coastlines.
That geographical diversity is reflected in the number of film locations that took place within Texas (Source: IMDB):
- Austin, Texas
- Bastrop, Texas
- Dallas, Texas
- Houston, Texas
- La Grange, Texas
- Matagorda, Texas
- San Marcos, Texas
- Smithville, Texas
- Waco, Texas
Death Valley – California
Death Valley, located in the Mojave Desert in Eastern California boasts the lowest, driest and hottest locations in North America. The valley received its name in 1849 during the Gold Rush.
Although it was named “death,” only one death in the area was actually recorded during the Gold Rush. In contrast to what early prospectors believed, at one time, the area that is now Death Valley was actually part of a succession of seas.
Villa Lante – Italy
Villa Lante features a garden of surprises near Viterbo, in central Italy. Construction began on Villa Lante sometime around 1566, but the work on the garden’s cascading fountains and dripping grottos continued even as the property changed hands many, many times since then. Families occupied the Villa until at least the 19th century.
In 1944 Allied bombing after the fall of Rome heavily damaged the property, and it wasn’t until the late 20th century that a long term of restoration began. It is now part of the Grandi Giardini Italiani, an association of the major gardens in Italy.
Photo by Bricke
P.S. Can you spot my travel photos? Hint: one is in Galveston, Texas; the other on the Singing Sand of the Kelso Dunes in the Mojave Desert.
The Tree of Life – available exclusively on Blu-ray Combo pack October 11, 2011.