Kit’s Solemn Vow

[It is useless to read the following before my review of The Tree of Life, The Imaginary Family of Terrence Malick.]

With the exception of The Tree of Life which is total and unconditional war –, Malick, almost always outmost cynical, gives himself some brief innocent, poetic moments during his films. The most poetic and innocent of all happens when Kit launchs the ballon rouge:

“Kit made a solemn vow that he would always stand beside me and let nothing come between us. He wrote this out in writing, put the paper in a box with some of our little tokens and things, then sent it off in a balloon he’d found while on the garbage route. (pause) His heart was filled with longing as he watched it drift off. Something must’ve told him that we’d never live these days of happiness again, that they were gone forever.
(Holly, v.o., Badlands)

Difficult to imagine the author of The Tree of Life liking Lamorisse’s film. Maybe he was just saying farewell to innocent cinephilia. Things would soon get rough.

Holly definitely doesn’t impels Malick towards the best. She calls him to fire. Their union, “to the end of time, was sealed with and in fire.

A way of saying that she drags him to the River of Life in whose waters he wants to die. Like I wrote in my review, Kit’s car dissolves into the tree dragged by the river as the lovers leave Fort Dupree. Malick loves to interconnect his films. We find the dragged tree in The New World, his last stop before going home.

After all, The New World is just a part of the only film Malick did, the film which gained a conclusion and a meaning with The Tree of Life:

Maxim: You mean he painted the same tree over and over again?
Young Woman (J. Fontaine): Yes. You see, he had a theory that if you should find one perfect thing...or place or person, you should stick to it.”