Terrence Malick has been known to make long films. In fact, his original cut of The Thin Red Line was around five to six hours in length and by the time he cut it down for release several actors weren’t even featured in the film. Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Sheen, Mickey Rourke, Gary Oldman, Bill Pullman, Lukas Haas and Viggo Mortensen were all cut out of the final theatrical version of The Thin Red Line. Even Adrien Brody‘s character was cut down to a few scenes.
So it really doesn’t come as a surprise that there is a longer cut of The Tree of Life on its way. The original cut is somewhere around eight hours according to the films cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. I for one am fully down for this alleged six hour cut. I’d love to see it in theaters, but I doubt many venues would release it due to the length. But with Blu-ray technology you can squeeze a decent amount of footage onto a 50 gigabyte disc. I’ve read that in order to reduce compression problems that would cause poor video or audio, movies shouldn’t be longer than three or four hours on a single disc. So maybe this new cut of the film would require a disc change somewhere around the half way mark? That would be fine by me! Here’s exactly what Lubezki said below:
Does Malick think about editing when he’s filming ?
We speak about it almost everytime. But most of the ideas about the editing we share on the set don’t make the final cut.
We maybe have been shot 600.000 metres (around 370 miles) of film.
The first cut was 8 hours long. Terry is working on/preparing a 6 hours long version of the movie. What I’ve seen (of this) is absolutely incredible, it’s wonderful. The longer version will have to/will likely, for the most part, relate to the children part. There were outstanding things, we’ve shot many, many things about Jack’s childhood : his friends, his evolution, his changes, his awareness of the loss of his childhood. I don’t know if I’m supposed to say all of this !
I’m just worried that this cut will never get any sort of release. Malick hasn’t released that longer cut of The Thin Red Line just yet and he is already working on his next film, which is supposed to come out next year. Malick usually takes massive breaks in between his films and with his plate pretty much full right now I wonder if he will ever get around to completing this six hour cut of The Tree of Life.
The Tree of Life is such a spectacular film. It was unlike anything I have ever seen before. It has such a deep story with so many meanings and full of stunning visuals. I have already seen the film twice and I plan on seeing it at least once more before it exits theaters. You must see it if you haven’t already.
Hopefully this new cut surfaces sometime in the near future. I’d love to see it in some form, whether it be on a big screen in theaters or on Blu-ray at home. As long as it gets released!
The Tree of Life is currently in limited release with a wider release planned for July 8th, 2011. Check out the epic trailer below if you haven’t already!