Seriously, there is about a minute of this bird business in the film. We are supposed to see it as the mystery of life. We behold the magic of existence. What invisible force directs these amazing birds? A woman suddenly floats up a tree. A door appears on a beach. A sea creature glows. Malick is not an atheist. He is a neo-vitalist. A true atheist knows life is not a mystery. Life is only living matter. Life is a dissipative process. We begin and end with the bush of living matter.
Charles Tonderai Mudede, The Stranger’s senior staff writer, is a Zimbabwean-born cultural critic, urbanist, filmmaker, college lecturer, and writer. Mudede collaborated with the director Robinson Devor on three films, two of which, Police Beat and Zoo, premiered at Sundance, and one of which, Zoo, screened at Cannes. He has also written for the New York Times, Cinema Scope, Tank Magazine, e-flux, LA Weekly, and C Theory.
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