01 July 2011

Weekend Tunes: Brahms (and some thoughts on Tree of Life)

I saw Terrence Malick's Tree of Life last Friday. One of the featured pieces is Brahms Symphony No.4 II. Andante moderato played during dinner. Brad Pitt's character, a failed musician, comments on the beauty of the piece immediately after chastising one of his boys during the meal. The joy that he receives from the lightness of Brahm's masterpiece stands in sudden contrast to his abusive style as a father. This is where the film and Malick are sublime.

Go see it. Suffer through the first half hour and final ten minutes of nonsense to get to a story which depicts the tension of a cynical father and a idealistic mother shaping the lives of three young boys. Knowing from the start that the eldest would die at war makes the small capture of a single summer all the more harrowing. Malick tries too hard at times (re: the first movement of the film), but is genius at relationships and bringing together an amazing film.

He tried for 2001 and fell short in respect to the entirety of the film. However, Kubrick, my favorite director ever, did not ever reach the narrative and stylistic height that Malick reaches in this film.  Specifically, there is a section that focuses on the three brothers as they see life.  Never have I watched, read, or heard something that so perfectly captures what it is like to be a young boy.  There was nothing specific to relate to, rather an experience of emotion in the attempt to explore and understand the world as it is presented in that moment in life.