It’s the 1940s and Europe is at war. Franz (August Diehl) is an Austrian farmer living with his wife Fani (Valerie Pachner) and three children. He undergoes military training but refuses to pledge allegiance to Adolf Hitler. And while this does not go over well with the people of his village, it becomes even more problematic when he is conscripted to fight in the war.
In a word, A Hidden Life is breathtaking. From the opening frame to the very last, the Film is a sensuous display of exquisite and absolutely stunning visuals. Being a film from legendary enigmatic Writer/Director Terrence Malick, I fully expected this to be the case. What I did not expect was a functioning narrative that is wonderfully expressive, even when we are just watching people chopping wheat. Diehl and Pachner are fantastic together or apart. The have great chemistry and their narration is vividly passionate, saying everything the visuals cannot. James Newton Howard’s Score is simply marvelous and one of the best of the year. Fair warning though – the structure of A Hidden Life is loose and free-flowing, testing the limits of its nearly three-hour running time. But rather thankfully, each minute is more rewarding than the last.
A HIDDEN LIFE screens during TIFF at the following times:
Monday September 9, 1:00pm @ Elgin Theatre
Wednesday September 11, 2:30pm @ Scotiabank Theatre
Friday September 13, 3:00pm @ Scotiabank Theatre
Saturday September 14, 9:00am @ Scotiabank Theatre
This looks simply mesmerizing. Auteur Terrence Malick‘s SONG TO SONG premiered last night at SXSW in Austin and believe it or not Malick himself made a rare appearance. Read DEADLINE‘s coverage for more on that. The Film of course is set in Austin so it was only fitting it got a Premiere at the Festival.
In this modern love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene, two entangled couples—struggling songwriters Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling), and music mogul Cook (Michael Fassbender) and the waitress whom he ensnares (Natalie Portman)—chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal.
See the Trailer:
While early reviews aren’t so promising, we cannot deny our intrigue. Here’s what Critics are saying so far:
Peter Debruge, Variety: “It pains me to say it, but Malick might want to consider another lengthy hiatus.”.
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter: “Suffice to say that Song to Song is not designed to win back onetime admirers who felt Malick‘s To the Wonder and Knight of Cups drowned in their own navels.”.
Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly: “In terms of content and meaningfulness, Terrence Malick‘s Song to Song is the cinematic equivalent of a Trump press conference.”.
eOne Films release SONG TO SONG in Canada, date TBA.