The extensive boughs of narration



“The tree of life”, presented today in the open air, is the controversial winner of the Palme d’Or during this year’s Cannes festival. Malick’s unique film deserves the viewer’s full commitment and several words of introduction.

“The tree of life” has been legitimised by the Palme d’Or award and, in accordance with the logic of prestigious awards, is already resonating within informal speech about cinema. It is a story that stems from a core, a strong trunk, and expands into ragged, intricate branches. Two basic layers of time create the frame for an essentially old-fashioned story that is introduced with words from the Book of Genesis. An adult man who works for a corporation, strolling in between the glass buildings of a metropolis, recollects his adolescence in the suburbs of 50s’ America. The protagonist’s authoritative father wishes to raise his sons to be strong men. His mother, however, teaches compassion to the children. This conflict becomes the basis for an extraordinary narrative.

Sebastian Smoliński