Thursday, July 28, 2011

To beautiful things come from here: The Tree of Life and Bedrich Smetana

This post originally appeared in The Prague Monitor.

I don’t know if you saw Winged Migration when it came out in 2001. If you didn’t, it was a nature documentary of sorts about bird migration. It was a success and ended up winning best documentary at the Oscars that year. It wasn’t that bird migration was so interesting. It was that the footage of the birds and their behavior was.

Even though you knew the camera crew was flying alongside in ultralights, that the birds were trained to fly and act naturally, there were scenes that just blew your mind. It seemed like the filmmakers got lucky. That the camera was on when a bird wandered into the frame, did something we'd never seen before and flew away.

There’s a lot of that in The Tree of Life, which I just saw the other night. For starters it's beautifully shot. The world we live in never looked better. And some of the scenes (especially with the young boys) seem like they were captured naturally in between takes of the actual movie.

So The Tree of Life is not like most movies. If you haven’t heard about it already (chances are you have though) you might want to read up on it first. There's plenty of controversy. It's up to you. I can't believe that The Tree of Life is in the local Cineplex alongside Harry Potter 8 though.

Oh, and the music. I’m proud a bit to recognize Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s Vltava contribution to the movie and the trailer. You can hear it here:

Kino Aero is running The Tree of Life in English with Czech subtitles for a measly 100kc. Get on it.

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