There was no way I’d describe myself as a “Malick Head” way back in 2010, prior to seeing his rhapsodic Palme d’Or winner, The Tree of Life. But I definitely would now. The seismic activity generated by that film at the time of its (weirdly precarious) release nevertheless led me to travel to France by road to see it before it came out in UK cinemas, as no distributors here wanted to touch it for some reason.
Though you can trace a stylistic evolution from his feted debut feature, Badlands, from 1973, to the work he’s making now, The Tree of Life felt like an epochal moment in Malick’s career, and within global cinema culture. And that feeling was evident even within people who didn’t chime with the film. The 2010s was Malick’s decade, a period of feverish creativity, formal experimentation and swimming against the harsh tides of identikit convention. Character, story, editing, framing, sound design, costume, dialogue, special effects – everything is up for grabs.
In this issue of LWLies, we take a voyage through time, delving into the Terrence Malick story from his earliest days as a jobbing screenwriter with a handy knack for salty Southern idioms, to the present day and the release of his heady ode to resistance and spirituality, A Hidden Life.
In this issue…
August Diehl and Valerie Pachner reveal to Hannah Woodhead what it was like to make art on a movie set with Terrence Malick.
Malick is known for the high seriousness and cosmic expansiveness of his work, but that wasn’t always the case argues Nick Pinkerton.
The Ten Commandments
A ten-essay symposium on the feature films of Terrence Malick. Each essay taps into a unique aspect of the individual films, which range from deep the trenchantly critical to the deeply personal. Contributors include Anna Swanson, Claire Marie Healy, Martyn Conterio, Adam Nayman, Dilara Elbir, Lillian Crawford, James Slaymaker, David Jenkins, Hannah Woodhead and Adam Woodward.
In her regular column on clothes and film, Christina Newland traces the rich iconographic history of the priest’s habit.
The best films of the decade
A round up of our broad survey of the great films of the 2010s. How many have you seen?
This special, expanded edition of the magazine celebrates British cinema and contains moving illustrations.
Our latest issue pays tribute to an icon of Hollywood, as played by Renée Zellweger in Rupert Goold’s beautiful new biopic.