Films with visionary ambitions, Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life"
being a recent example, usually suffer by comparison to Theo Angelopoulos's "Ulysses
Gaze" (1995) or his "Landscape In the Mist"(1988), the conclusion of which is
one of the most beautiful, melancholy sequences in cinema. In an instance of
horrible banality the great Greek
director died Tuesday after being hit by a motorcycle in Piraeus.
He was 76. The world of movies is immeasurably diminished.
With the announcement of the Oscar nominations this morning,
the Academy once again has unleashed a stinging slap to my pretensions to
In short, I got seven wrong out of 34, or about 77%. At best a C+ and short of
my average of 80-85%.
As usual, though, I'm wrong for all the right reasons.
The National Society of Film Critics, of which I am a member, had a choice between "Life" and death today, and they chose death. That is to say, Lars Von Trier's doomsday celebration "Melancholia" beat out Terence Malick's cheerier "Tree of Life" for Best Picture by one vote. "Tree of Life" would make a comeback with Best Director and Best Cinematography somewhat later in the four-and-a-half meeting, but not before "Melancholia' scored again with Best Actress with Kirsten Dunst.
It's a shame that the world, according to Rapture experts, ends May 21 because that
means we'll miss some interesting end of the world movies. Not necessarily films in which the world ends with a bang, like "Armageddon" or '2012," but more the whimper
kind-- reflective and philosophical.
Like Lars Von Triers's "Melancholia,"
which just premiered at Cannes.