May 2, 2013

Death dream double bill

Enter the Void (Gaspar Noe, 2010) and Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011). And it would run best in that order: Noe’s druggy Buddhist nihilism before Malick’s sentimental Christian optimism, but both as death meditations that try – and succeed, in different ways – to return the viewer to the immediate state of childhood consciousness, remembered as paradise in Malick and (largely) trauma in Noe. Both with their adored lost mothers, both with their under-the-breath narration, full of doubt. Both also taking us to a beginning: cosmic in Malick, simply biological and painful in Noe.