Tales of Life and Death
The first film one recalls while watching Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity (2013) may be Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a significant movie about the exploration of the universe. Yet, some other associations came to my mind after learning that Gravity’s suggestive photography belongs to Emmanuel Lubezki, who also shot Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life (2011) and To the Wonder (2012). The three films share an elegant choreographic style and some visual lyricism. In Gravity the space is the perfect medium to articulate the spiraling slow movements of the characters and floating objects, an effect that is intended in Malick’s last two movies through slow motion, and the evocative movements of the characters and the camera. In the three movies fluid motion of bodies in agoraphobic open spaces suggests certain subjective existential angst, loneliness and the void. Gravity and The Tree of Life are deceptive simple stories, tales of survival in various senses. The scarcity of dialogue opens up these movies to free interpretation. They are evocative movies, aimed to create sensations of loss, protection, terror, beauty and hope. They are abstractions to be sensed and felt. Like in The Tree of Life, in Gravity, the end of life and its creation merge with the successive evocation of death, dramatized by Stone’s (Sandra Bullock) return to the mother womb in the space ship, and a profusion of umbilical cords and corridors that enable the opportunity to be re-born.
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