Tree of Life (2011) Dir. Terrence Malick

a few scattered thoughts of mine

When a son dies, a mother wants to die too to be with him. She weeps. She strolls around like a ghost. She wipes her pale wet face. She detaches herself from her husband, from her family, from God. She looks for comfort in Nature. She keeps asking why.

When a brother dies, the siblings remember the time spent together. They remember how they played together. They remember when he washed his face in the river. They go on living, but imagine how it was. How it would be, perhaps, as well.

When a man dies, the Earth continues to be. The waters flow. The volcanoes erupt. The winds blow. The universe does not stop. God does not stop his grand creation because a mother’s heart stopped after her son’s death. The magnitude and awe of the universe against the pain and heartbreak of the mother.

God figured it all out. Everything in Nature makes sense. Who dies and who survives. What grows and what withers. The sounds of animals crossing the water. The heavy breathing of a dying creature.

The mother convinces us the life of her son is as important as the universe. The human mother against the Mother Nature. Are they the same, or as important? She is the embodiment of Mother Nature with her red hair like fire, green eyes like trees, pale skin like sky, and freckles like planets.

Is this movie a story of a dysfunctional suburban family, or a question about existence and life? Is it about a significance of a mother and a father in the upbringing of a child, or a place of a woman in a patriarchal society? Or perhaps a plea for respecting the Nature? Malick offers us a journey through human emotions, through family relations, through the vast cosmos. What we make of it is up to us.

Long days, pleasant nights,

Veronica Bazydlo


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