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March 10th

Memory & Space

The Tree of Life (USA, 2011, 139 min.) Terrence Malick

Discussant: Colman Hogan, Co-Director CMTS, English, Ryerson University



The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick's signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.

The Tree of Life “does not come at us in isolated shots but in bursts of attentively covered emotion and energy, and one recalls instants that feel like they’ve been seized from one’s own memory. The movie aims to tell of a spiritual journey using a sense of place, a long span of time and a set of striking elemental images.” Kent Jones.

  Colman Hogan is a Lecturer in the Department of English, Ryerson University. He was nominated for TVO's Best Lecturer in 2009, the co-editor of The Camp: Narratives of Internment and Exclusion (2008), and is co-editing a volume on perpetrator discourse.

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