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Watch David Fincher and Christopher Nolan pay homage to Terrence Malick

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Coming off a Palme d'Or-winning appearance at Cannes, The Tree of Life, art-house darling Terrence Malick's fifth film in four decades, is gearing up for a wider release, and with that in mind, Fox Searchlight put together a brief featurette in which two of the biggest names in the business, David Fincher and Christopher Nolan, discuss Malick and his latest tone poem, which combines a family drama in 1950s Texas with nothing less than a CGI history of the universe.

Nolan describes how the subtle techniques of the former MIT philosophy professor have influenced his own, and notes Malick's unique marriage of narrative and visual technique a la Kubrick and Hitchcock. He points out how Malick has a distinctive visual "voice" that's readily spotted, but hard to pin down. In short, with Judd Apatow, for instance, you get knowing wisecracks; with Malick, you get brooding and birds.

Fincher describes how evocative Malick's films are, whether it's Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, The New World, or The Tree of Life. Actors realize that, with Malick, you're signing up for an expressive, meditative work of art, not a popcorn-movie paycheck. Whether The Tree of Life is a pretentious act of self-indulgence or a twenty-first century Citizen Kane will be debated, but there's no denying that Malick is a unique and visionary filmmaker, who continues to entertain and intrigue.