Round 1: Tree of Life vs. Once Upon a Time in America

Discussion in 'Mumbai Region' started by The 1-2-3 Killam, Oct 16, 2012.

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Round 1: Tree of Life vs. Once Upon a Time in America

  1. Tree of Life

  2. Once Upon a Time in America

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  1. The 1-2-3 Killam

    The 1-2-3 Killam Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Round 1: Tree of Life vs. Once Upon a Time in America

    Polls will close on Saturday, October 20 at 12:00am(ish) ET. ​
     
    #1
  2. Loveless

    Loveless A Life In Monochrome

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    In every post I've made so far I've done so having watched both films, that is not the case here. I watched 20 minutes of America and found it so boring I had to turn it off. Instead I'm going to explain why The Tree of Life might be the best film of this century.

    In every film you've ever watched there will be a theme and almost universally, that theme with deal with some aspect of humanity, whether it's overcoming an obstacle, finding your love, questioning who you are, the list is endless. A good film will find it's theme and explore it, making you think, a great film might do that on multiple levels and make you question your life or viewpoint.
    What The Tree of Life does is examine something so massive that it's theme is universal. The DNA of what The Tree of Life is saying can be found in every book in every book you ever read, every film you've ever seen, every tree in the ground and bird in the sky, literally everything that exists, does so within the conflicting methods espoused by Mother at the beginning of the film.

    "The nuns taught us there were two ways through life - the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow. Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries.
    Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it."


    Throughout the entire film, you are shown examples of these 2 forces, from the creation of universes (the force of comets or the lava that simply finds the easiest path) through to lifeforms on the most basic genetic level, through to the dinosaurs and the force of the hunter and subsequent mercy, right through to the dominance of Father and the adaptable Mother. These 2 universal themes permeate everything (even it's rival film) and to be able to demonstrate that on film from galaxies down to single cell organisms is a magnificent achievement.
     
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  3. The 1-2-3 Killam

    The 1-2-3 Killam Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Well said Loveless. I heard somebody describe Tree of Life once as "a really pretty film about nothing, that only had a plot for 1/3 of the movie." I can get where they're coming from, but it is one of my all time favorite films. I believe, and I'm still waiting for my issue in the mail, but Sight & Sound actually added it to their prestigious Top 10 of all time list this year!

    Terrence Malick has my eternal affection and respect for not ever wanting to go out and make a "normal" movie. He always has to tackle these crazy projects, and he uses non-traditional methods to do just about everything. You may think that because of the stunning visuals in Tree of LIfe, most of it was CGI, but while some definitely was (hello, random dinosaur), how Malick actually went about capturing those scenes is fascinating.

    The movie, appropriately titled, captures the entire scope of life's experience. The beginning beautifully displayed int he creation of all things; the end creatively displayed as some sort of purgatorial experience. And right there in the middle is this seemingly unrelated, unimportant family drama. People get lost at this point, because they think "oh, now it's time for the actual movie." But really, that segment is intentionally "normal". There nothing incredibly cinematic about the family. There really aren't many film-worthy scenes that they must encounter; no real reason to be on my screen. But then it hit me...it's the human experience - not contrived or exaggerated, just simply there - smack dab in the middle of everything. At the same time you get a feel for the importance of humanity, but an equal amount of futility. We are the center of all things, but also...largely unimportant in the grand scheme of the proverbial tree of life. Thus the films beauty.

    VOTE: Tree of Life
     
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  4. Loveless

    Loveless A Life In Monochrome

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    That scene with the dinosaurs is actually pretty important, even though it only lasts about 30 seconds, because it encompasses the whole film. Understanding that scene explains the ending. I'm going to have to go off on a brief philosophical tangent here.

    While the whole film focuses on Grace Vs Force and how they shape everything, the conflict they cause in the son, ultimately we are all vulnerable to much larger forces than we could possibly ever control. The battle between A Mother & A Father is, in the end, pointless. All that conflict you see in The Son ends when he dies.
    Nietzsche said that all forces exist to expel their energy and their will over each other and that brings me back to the dinosaurs. In that one scene you see the hunter going in for the kill (force), a moment of mercy (or realisation) and then a meteor (the larger force) that comes and wipes everything out. Humanity springs from that destruction and it all starts again, repeating endless until death, either individual or global.
    That's ultimately what the end scene is about. In death (or afterlife) he's finally free of these forces and peaceful, because although they have to exist, they both end in the same way. A greater force (death) comes along and all that's left is peace.
     
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  5. Mitch Henessey

    Mitch Henessey Deploy the cow-catcher......
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    A few years ago, xfearbefore made a thread about Once Upon A Time In America in the Movies & TV section. I was aware of Once Upon A Time In America's existence, but I watched it for the first time after reading the thread. Serigo Leone is famous for his work in the Western genre, but Once Upon A Time In America is a fantastic crime drama. Great performances from De Niro and James Woods (honorable mention to Joe Pesci), remarkable visuals, and Once Upon A Time In America is truly epic.

    A few months ago, I caught The Tree Of Life on Cinemax one night, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was a shock for me, because usually, I can't stand anything with Malick's name attached to it. It feels pretentious at times, but The Tree Of Life is beautifully filmed, featuring stunning visuals. The story is loaded with emotion, and you'll see an Oscar worthy performance from Brad Pitt. Plus, Jessica Chastain is strong in the supporting role, as Brad's wife.

    It's a tough choice, but I'm going with The Tree Of Life. Sorry, but for 4+ hours for any type of movie is just too fucking long. Shorter versions of Leone's Once Upon A Time In America exist, but the original version is the REAL version. Leone is one of my favorite filmmakers, but sitting through Once Upon A Time In America feels like a chore each time.
     
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