Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder' Will Feature Political & Economic Themes, Says Venice Film Festival Director Alberto Barbera

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by Charlie Schmidlin
July 27, 2012 11:39 AM
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Since the single official still of Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams nuzzling in front of a gorgeous vista hit the web, it was always assumed Terrence Malick's latest film, “To the Wonder,” would expand on the themes of love and relationships present in both “Badlands” and “The Tree of Life.” However, as details on Javier Bardem's priest character revealed earlier this week hinted at a more prominent element of faith, today a figure involved in bringing the film to the festival world has added another subject the film will tackle.

Making its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, “To the Wonder” will first screen at the Venice Film Festival at the end of August, and in a recent interview, Venice festival director Alberto Barbera shared an intriguing insight into a focus of the film. "The main recurring theme is the crisis," he told reporters in Rome. "The economic crisis, which is having devastating social effects, but also the crisis of values, the political crisis.” The film's plot certainly mirrors this statement, as it follows Affleck's character, Neil, returning to Oklahoma from Europe infatuated with Marina (played by Olga Kurylenko), where he then marries her for love and perhaps some visa troubles as well. Once problems in their relationship start to show, Neil finds comfort in a childhood friend (McAdams) and a religious exile (Bardem), which allows a number of growing difficulties in both his romantic and spiritual lives to bubble up.

If the financial aspect of Barbera's comment seems so jarring, that may be because Malick has always rather shied away from the subject before, only growing more prominent in recent years with Brad Pitt's struggle to keep his family afloat in “The Tree of Life.” Prior to that, while his characters have always existed in environments that require financial upkeep, Malick has traditionally shown an little interest in exploring those depths head on. Still, just as his supporting cast of Rachel Weisz, Barry Pepper, Amanda Peet and Michael Sheen have yet to be revealed in their roles, expect the economic element to be just one of many threads that Malick's compelling film will handle, unless Steven Soderbergh has particularly influenced the director as of late. [AFP]

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10 Comments

  • LT | July 27, 2012 7:27 PMReply

    I heard Pepper plays Affleck's secret lover. Crisis of sexual identity.

  • d | July 27, 2012 7:47 PM

    Barry Pepper plays a priest, but... it's possible I guess? Unlikely.

  • WRT | July 27, 2012 6:25 PMReply

    Prior to that, while his characters have always existed in environments that require financial upkeep, Malick has traditionally shown an little interest in exploring those depths head on." Really? Days of Heaven is about an itinerant worker who wants to prostitute his girlfriend to achieve a fortune, and Badlands is about a couple of kids who go around killing and stealing. The New World and TTRL are exceptions in the sense that everything is either at the expense of the government or free, from the land. You already mentioned TTOL's labor issues. How much more head on would you like it to get?

  • Paul Maher Jr | July 27, 2012 5:21 PMReply

    Bardem's priest has a crisis in faith because he is in love with Kurleyenko's character.

  • Lorenzo | July 27, 2012 5:03 PMReply

    Barbera was talking about the all selection, not about TO THE WONDER in particular.

  • Nick | July 27, 2012 3:09 PMReply

    Michael Sheen apparently plays Affleck's boss.

  • Lou | July 27, 2012 1:32 PMReply

    I think he says the general theme of the all selection is the crisis in diverse forms, so it doesn't mean that To The Wonder will deal with the economic crisis in particular... I think he's talking in general, not just about this movie... It's not really clear...

  • Christian | July 27, 2012 12:40 PMReply

    SO psyched for this film. I'm sick of all the tentpoles besides The Dark Knight Rises, I want something different, something unique, something artistic now! Right now!

  • jon | July 27, 2012 12:32 PMReply

    Can't wait to see it.

  • Eweisze | July 27, 2012 12:06 PMReply

    Rachel Weisz plays Ben Affleck's sister.

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