Secretive 'Tree of Life' director revealed in edges of Blu-ray doc -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Nietzsche famously said, “If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes back into you.”

Similarly, if you try to figure out Terrence Malick, Terrence Malick figures out you.

The elusive director of The Tree of Life does not appear in the bonus features on the upcoming Blu-ray release of his ethereal and divisive Cannes Film Festival winner, but he is still the main attraction for those eager to learn more about him.

While the home-video release, out Oct. 11, includes a making-of documentary, Malick is actually the subject of most of the discussion from stars Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, to his crew, producers and admiring filmmakers such as The Dark Knight Rises’ Christopher Nolan and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘s David Fincher. It’s a portrait of the filmmaker in periphery. 

In this exclusive EW clip, Chastain talks about the audition process and relates a phenomenon familiar to anyone who has met Malick, who doesn’t do on-the-record interviews, rarely has his photo taken (though he plays a small onscreen role in his first film, 1973’s Badlands) and crafts beautiful but deeply enigmatic movies such as Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and The New World. Check it out below:

No other director is as mysterious to film-lovers as Malick. But when you meet him, he is more likely to ask all about you.

On Twitter: @Breznican

Read more:
Brad Pitt ‘The Tree of Life‘ clip
Gallery: ‘The Tree of Life‘: EW tries to solve its mysteries in 28 steps

Comments (41 total) Add your comment
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  • m1

    I saw The Thin Red Line recently and really loved it. It seems that I might really like The Tree of Life as well. Can’t wait for it to come out on DVD!

  • Sam

    And Jose loves commenting on those posts of posts to belittle that individual.

  • YuMei

    We watched it on the big screen and loved it! Now I can’t wait for them to put out the blu-ray!!!

  • R

    thank god its coming out on DVD! I am happy now..night is made

  • Sam J

    This was a good film. It was rich with metaphore and sybolism I believe. Most people saw a spiritual element to this film with the mention of God and images of the “after life” but I believe they were metaphores and this film to me as an atheist who believes in science, was a confirmation of my scientific beliefs. This is why Malick is a genius, his film can satisfy two polor opposite interpretations.

    • Johnson

      Please stop trying to sound smart, while spelling metaphor and polar wrong. it makes you like like an idiot.

      • RB

        Glass Houses “like like”

    • Sam

      Hey, I’m a Sam J too! I completely agree with you… I felt the same way about “The Book of Eli.” I have more “out there” views than my traditional Christian parents do, but we both walked out of that movie satisfied. “The Tree of Life,” on the other hand, breaks from the traditional storytelling narrative, and leaves it to you to piece together what you can. It makes sense that a lot of people laughed in the theater I saw it in. When a film asks us to open up, some know only to laugh at that.

    • atlanticjaxx

      Absolutely agree.

  • Rashy

    Nothing noted on the 5 hour version that is rumored to come out, who knows maybe it will be a later Criterion release. I hope

  • Sarti

    Jessica Chastain was GREAT in this movie. she’s amazing and i’m looking forward to following her career.

  • Amor Fati

    Take out the self indulgent 45 minute Koyaanisqatsi ripoff scenes and you have a beautifully shot half decent coming of age drama. Thin Red Line was much better.

  • ia

    When I first saw the TV ads for THE TREE OF LIFE, I was so excited to want to see this film. And now I’m so disappointed that it never had a wide release. My local library will be showing the film (for free, I might add) and I can’t wait to see it. That being said, I think this is one film by MALICK that you need to see on the big screen. Why did this film not get a wide release so that fans of MALICK could truly see how beautiful this film is on the big screen?
    TERRENCE MALICK is a very good film director and film creator. I saw BADLANDS and DAYS OF HEAVEN way back when and knew that MALICK had the essence of a great director! I was blown away with the films visual beauty!
    It will be sad to think that THE TREE OF LIFE will be overlooked come Oscar nomination time…I hope not.

  • DUDE

    I knew that would be the first thing the fanboys pointed out…. ‘HEY LOOK AN ERROR, I MUST BE FIRST TO POINT IT OUT, HAHA SEE I AM AWESOME.’

    • Julie

      Vous avez de bons points il, c’est ouqroupi j’aime toujours verifier votre blog, Il semble que vous etes un expert dans ce domaine. maintenir le bon travail, Mon ami recommander votre blog. Mon francais n’est pas tres bon, je suis de l’Allemagne. Mon blog: et pour locataire

  • MIKE

    I’m pretty much the biggest film snob there is, and I still found this film to be self-indulgent, artsy trash. There’s good artsy, then there’s pompus “look at me, I’m so artistic and bend the rules” artsy. alick is turning into the latter.

    • Bless

      Yeah, Alick is turning into the latter, isn’t he? However, I’m ecstatic about Malick’s new film! The Tree of Life blew my mind, and I’m grateful to have seen it before it left theaters as many times as I did.I didn’t find it pompous or anything of that nature at all. It was just rich with spirituality and philosophy.

  • Danny

    I love the cinema, but this film was pretentious, ponderous, and quite frankly – dull. Jessica Chastain was the one [moderately] saving grace; even Sean Penn has expressed disappointment in the film. Brad Pitt’s performance was so-so … hardly his best .. and the film coasted on fumes from Malick’s adoration society of “professional” film critics.

  • Rhys

    Loved this movie; it is very moving and transformative if you are open to this kind of viewing experience.

  • Radzinsky

    Cannot wait to get this film on Blu-ray. A true masterpiece, beautiful cinema. Unfortunately it will never live up to the experience of seeing it on a giant screen in the theater, but oh well.

    • Amy

      and I hope you are doing well.Rat Fink Reply:February 5th, 2012 at 7:24 amWell look who it is. Yay!Thanks for your insight I alwyas covet your take on these things, especially when there’s doubt or confusion in my mind as to a director’s real intent. I agree that artists should push the envelope; indeed, look what I’ve done to the concept of mediocrity in online journaling. Let’s get together soon and catch up.

  • Radzinsky

    Can’t wait to get this film on Blu-ray! Seeing it in the theaters was one of the best cinematic experiences I’ve had the pleasure of having, and I can’t wait to watch it again. Unfortunately it will never live up to the theater experience though.

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