Tree of Life was definitely one of those films that served as litmus test of whether you really enjoy Malick or not. Seen by very few as his best film, it remains a pretty distilled example of the kind of vision and approach he brings to humanity. I’ve always been a sucker for Malick and found Tree of Life to be a beutiful experience, though not necessarily a profound one. To me this means I’d be down with watching a longer version of the already-long film, though I’m thinking a 6-hour cut might give even hardcore Malick fans pause…
The 6-hour version is unlikely to see the light of day I’m sure, even if D.P. Emmanuel Lubezki mentioned earlier in the year. In more recent interviews he’s confirmed that Tree of Life will likely be longer in a future release, but is less specific about a runtime, simply citing the wealth of additional material Malick could easily pop back in.
“I know Terry is doing a longer cut of ‘Tree,’ but we had so many scenes that were cut out that it wouldn’t be that hard to put together a longer version. Other than that, I really don’t know what he is going to put back in, but I’m sure that it will be interesting.”
I love that he refers to it as just “Tree.”
So yeah, I highly doubt even Criterion is going to release a Blu-ray of a 6-hour Malick film (though I would definitely watch it exactly one time), but we can expect some kind of extended cut for sure, with a focus on expanding the material in Jack’s childhood. What Criterion (or perhaps just Warner Brothers) will be releasing though, is a new version of Badlands, Malick’s first film.
There’s no date or details, except that there could be a commentary track from editor Billy Webber (he dropped the news of the new release). Assuredly there would be a nice new transfer for a Blu-ray release, so another Malick film will be joining the HD ranks. If there’s any director’s films that require as much visual fidelity and good sound as possible it’s Malick’s, even if Badlands is as straightforward and accessible of a film as he’s ever made.
We’ll write up dates and details for these discs when they come around.