Terrence Malick “backing away” from his unscripted films

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The enigma around legendary filmmaker Terrence Malick and his recent efforts have left many puzzled – his new film Song to Song, which has debuted in the US, continues the director’s fascination with the unscripted and his exploration in finding more “true”, documentary-style moments in his movies, a trend he began with To The Wonder and Knight of Cups amongst others.

But it seems the Badlands and The Thin Red Line helmer is looking to move away from his experimental phase to head back into more conventional surroundings. Speaking at a Q&A for his latest film A Voyage in Time, Malick spoke of his desire to head back to scripted projects, saying:

“Well, there was a script, which was the evolutionary history of the universe [audience laughs]. And lately – I keep insisting, only very lately – have I been working without a script, and I’ve lately repented the idea. The last picture we shot, and we’re now cutting, went back to a script that was very well ordered… There’s a lot of strain when working without a script because you can lose track of where you are. It’s very hard to coordinate with others who are working on the film. Production designers and location managers arrive in the morning and don’t know what we’re going to shoot or where we’re going to shoot. The reason we did it was to try and get moments that are spontaneous and free. As a movie director, you always feel with a script that you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. And with no script, there’s no round hole, there’s just air. But I’m backing away from that style now.” (via And So It Begins…)

He continued:

“I think you’re strangely unconscious of change yourself, the way you’re unconscious of your own face. You’re changing but you’re not realizing you’re changing. But you hope that you’re on track with something; that you’ll keep changing. But those early pictures [of mine] feel strange, and five lifetimes ago,”

While we have remained intrigued by Malick’s recent efforts, it will be a relief for many that he has left that side behind and heading to more conventional films.

Song to Song is due for release in the UK later this year.

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