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Little White Lies #83

Our Jan/Feb issue pays tribute to Terrence Malick’s extraordinary World War Two drama.

There was no way I’d describe myself as a “Malick Head” way back in 2010, prior to seeing his rhapsodic Palme d’Or winner, The Tree of Life. But I definitely would now. The seismic activity generated by that film at the time of its (weirdly precarious) release nevertheless led me to travel to France by road to see it before it came out in UK cinemas, as no distributors here wanted to touch it for some reason.

Though you can trace a stylistic evolution from his feted debut feature, Badlands, from 1973, to the work he’s making now, The Tree of Life felt like an epochal moment in Malick’s career, and within global cinema culture. And that feeling was evident even within people who didn’t chime with the film. The 2010s was Malick’s decade, a period of feverish creativity, formal experimentation and swimming against the harsh tides of identikit convention. Character, story, editing, framing, sound design, costume, dialogue, special effects – everything is up for grabs.

In this issue of LWLies, we take a voyage through time, delving into the Terrence Malick story from his earliest days as a jobbing screenwriter with a handy knack for salty Southern idioms, to the present day and the release of his heady ode to resistance and spirituality, A Hidden Life.