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Book Chapter

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Department 1



Chapter Summary: From the blackness emerges a subtly scripted epigraph from the biblical book of Job, silently posing a question to the viewer on behalf of the almighty: "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation...while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Following thirty-five chapters of Job's story, filled with relentless criticism on the part of Job's "friends" in response to Job's ongoing poetically formulated and impassioned lamentations, and the demands he places before God - demands for justice and an explanation for his suffering - at last the voice of the almighty speaks from within the raging storm, responding not with an answer but with a questions: where were you? - the very question Terrence Malick poses to us at the beginning of The Tree of Life. Thus, from the opening moments of the film Malick is signifying to the viewer that The Tree of Life is to be a meditation on the meaning of suffering. [excerpt]

Book Summary: Amid all the controversy, criticism, and celebration of Terence Malick's award-winning film The Tree of Life, what do we really understand of it? The Way of Nature and the Way of Grace thoughtfully engages the philosophical riches of life, culture, time, and the sacred through Malick's film. This groundbreaking collection traverses the relationships among ontological, moral, scientific, and spiritual perspectives on the world, demonstrating how phenomenological work can be done in and through the cinematic medium, and attempting to bridge the gap between narrow "theoretical" works on film and their broader cultural and philosophical significance. Exploring Malick's film as a philosophical engagement, this readable and insightful collection presents an excellent resource for film specialists, philosophers of film, and film lovers alike. [From the Publisher]


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Copyright © 2016 by Northwestern University Press. Published 2016. All rights reserved.