He signed his big return. After having been scratched by the critics for his latest film To the wonder , Knight of Cups and Song-to-song , Terrence Malick returns with majesty, the essence of his cinema. A renaissance widely hailed by critics at the Cannes film Festival, as relieved of the return to the sources of the director of The Tree of life .
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Screened Sunday at the Cannes film A hidden life focuses on the true story of a peasant austrian, Franz Jägerstetter, who was executed by the nazis in 1943 for refusing to fight for the Third Reich. Played by the German actor August Dielhl ( Inglorious basterds and The young Karl Marx), this figure of the resistance catholic was beatified in 2007 by pope Benedict XVI.
shots like tables
“beauty has a name : Terrence Malick. It gives this notion its full meaning. The art flows out of source. Almost in spite of himself, the filmmaker, has risen to the top of the batch”
In this historic portrait, the aesthetic malickienne is save. For Jean-Claude Raspiengeas of The Cross , the composition of each plan is “a picture, a poem, an elegy to the nature […] a film of staggering beauty, of interiority, and irrigated by the virtuosity and meditative of the staging, the movement-symphony of the assembly, the game in tune with the actors, dazzled by the light of hope and love”. Contemplation is the master word of the creator of The Tree of life, crowned at Cannes in 2011. A return to his signature that delights Corentin Palanchini d’ Allociné : “[Terrence Malick] is in the (sublime) light the journey of this character and the couple that he forms with a woman who is by his side in his fight.”
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Eric Neuhoff, a columnist for Le Figaro is also captured by the beauty of the landscapes and the masters of the american director: “The camera moves with the flexibility of a gymnast of the former regimes of the East”, has fun there to compare before adding, “beauty has a name: Terrence Malick. It gives this notion its full meaning. The art flows out of source. Almost in spite of himself, the filmmaker rises above the pack”.
An ode to the love and faith
“His symphonic poem, inhabited by grace, is a peak of spirituality”
beyond the form, Terrence Malick delves into the depths of the soul and sign an ode to spirituality and love through this peasant couple in austria. “His symphonic poem, inhabited by grace, is a peak of spirituality”, welcomes Jean-Claude Raspiengeas of The Cross . “Malick an intimate knowledge of the sky, befriends the great, pray to God without lapsing into the emphasis,” says Eric Neuhoff.
To Thomas Sotinel of the World , “the sequences follow one another inevitably, like the grains of a rosary, it all brings us back to the faith of the peasant, meticulous and resigned”. Beyond the Rhine, to the Spiegel , the personal faith of Terrence Malick can create “a closeness between him and his characters, which is extraordinary, even for non-believers”.
If a large part of the criticism has been acclaimed A hidden life, some, as Paris Match consider the new creation of Malick’s “far from the masterpiece expected” . “If Malick offers as usual a film visually breathtaking, some plans inspiration almost divine, it also uses up the overflow of his long tracking shots and against dives to the steadycam, the fluidity may eventually become a gimmick,” adds the French magazine. And to underline the inconsistency of the languages used: the dialogues of the nazis are German and not subtitled while characters austrians speak English.
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on the other side of the Atlantic, that criticism is harsh especially in Hollywood Reporter : “a Few minutes after the beginning of the film, there is no doubt about the signature. But Malick continues to make the same movements, without changing or amplifying. His process is to beautify, flatten and simplify.” The same bitterness in addition to the Channel for The Guardian which was critical of the lack of contextualization: “In making a portrait typically malickéen, Terrence Malick’s mask and isolates Jägerstetter, the detaching of a large part of the historical context.” These few misgivings for A hidden life are light years ahead of the critics who had received Song-to-song (2017) , announcing, at the time, the fall of a prodigy of the 7th Art. Terrence Malick is back. For the Spiegel , it is even in the right to ask the question: “And why not a palme d’or?”.