Knight of Cups (2015), dir. Terrence Malick

Terry Malick knows that half of those who view this film will dismiss it as artless drivel, yet he fearlessly continues his quest of deconstructing the narrative, and deconstructing, and deconstructing, until we're left with tone poems of the grandest sort, masterfully shot and editing to flow most perfectly from beginning frame to end.

You've got balls, Terrence; people tend to be wary of works that expand the visual art form (obviously unknowing that this expansion is taking place) because they are unsure of whether abstraction, rather than concreteness, is capable of creating poignancy and pathos, and so they doubt.

But how sure you are, and how marvelously you communicate your soulful wishes and societal desires to the general populace. Those who are willing to embrace your abstract ways will find greater meaning in these partially-veiled audiovisual experiences than most films with clearly defined plots and significances. Because your films, Mr. Malick, are self-applicable, experiential, and defined by one's own misadventures and endeavors.

I too struggle, so deeply, with impulsivity, with testing the waters of goodness and taking part in excessive behaviors: abuse of substances, abuse -- though not literal -- of interpersonal relationships, abuse of privilege. And I too had a complex relationship with my father, who is now deceased; I felt that he could not understand me, nor could I he.

Yet now that he's gone, I realize he's the only person who ever could have understood me, and now here I stand without him, my own father, my own damaged anchor, my loneliness now my drunken and inept guide.

I'd like to enter the film industry, more than anything in the universe, but I fear the world in which it exists. I fear that doing so will only bring out, even further, the flaws that I've already touched upon: my inability to say no, my fear of commitment, my strained relationships, my isolation, my half-shattered spirituality.

It's films like these that give me hope, though I'm hesitant to refer to Malick's post-hiatus works as merely films. To me, they are more so -- similarly to the filmography of Andrei Tarkovsky -- sacred texts, timeless verses, rhythmic & formal songs of light.


© 2017 by ELI HAYES.

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