Terrence Malick is a filmmaker in a class entirely of his own.  Only Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky come to mind when considering Malick’s closest comparisons.  One of the few directors in Hollywood with carte-blance power, when Malick embarks on a film project he is given the rare privilege of being left alone to do his work — liberated from the mundanities of producers, budgets, and left-brain chores that cripple other directors’ creative freedom. In a fascinating 2011 profile of Malick, The Independent wrote the following:

“After studying philosophy at Harvard, where he specialized in Heidegger — whose work is thought to have a strong influence in his films — he studied for a time at Oxford University, but is thought to have left before completing his studies. His name appears on a list of ‘lost alumni’ on the Magdalen College website. He later worked as a teacher and a journalist before moving into film. The 1973 film Badlands with Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek helped to make his name as a serious talent, in the auteur mould … Michele Morette, his late ex-wife of 13 years, revealed that while they were together she wasn’t allowed into his office, and that he would rather buy her a copy of a book than lend her his own. He also liked to leave his books and cassettes face-down, so people couldn’t see what he was reading or listening to … Another tale suggests a darkness and artistic obsession ran in the family. His youngest brother, Larry, went to Spain to study with the guitarist Andres Segovia, but the young Malick was so frustrated by his lack of progress that he broke his own hands, and later committed suicide … Like Kubrick, he also has many of Hollywood’s biggest stars desperate to work with him. The Thin Red Line featured several prominent names, such as George Clooney, who were more than happy to sign up for what were essentially small parts, all for the honour of working with one of cinema’s modern masters. He lifted his veil of secrecy to film a walk-on part in Badlands. He is also said to be such a fan of Zoolander, the 2001 send-up of the fashion world, that colleagues say he watches it regularly and likes to quote it. Ben Stiller, the star of the film, once dressed up in character and recorded him a special birthday video message.”  (read more HERE).

Filmmaker Rachel Glassman recently created a beautiful tribute to the cinematography of Terrence Malick, as well as the themes and motifs he explores in his films.  You can watch it in full above.  And for all FEELguide stories related to Terrence Malick you can visit Terrence Malick on FEELguide.


Writer, editor, and founder of FEELguide. I have written over 5,000 articles covering many topics including: travel, design, movies, music, politics, psychology, neuroscience, business, religion and spirituality, philosophy, pop culture, the universe, and so much more. I also work as an illustrator and set designer in the movie industry, and you can see all of my drawings at http://www.unifiedfeel.com.

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