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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

In Context: The Tree of Life

More than 100 musicians and singers from the Wordless Music Orchestra perform live accompaniment to a special screening of Terrence Malick’s 2011 masterpiece starring Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #TheTreeofLife.

Program Notes

The Tree of Life (PDF)


Terrence Malick's 'Tree of Life': The classical music factor (Los Angeles Times)
An overview of The Tree of Life’s most transcendent musical moments, touching on four of the more than 30 classical works included in the film’s soundtrack.

The secret life of Terrence Malick (Independent)
An film-by-film overview of Terence Malik’s oeuvre and peculiar mystique

Brad Pitt talks about Terrence Malick and The Tree of Life (The Guardian)
Brad Pitt, “the movie world's most photographed man,” speaks about his experience working with Malik, “the most notorious recluse in cinema.”


THE TREE OF LIFE: The Story (YouTube)
The stars and producers of Terence Malik’s masterpiece attempt to unpack the narrative behind its visual majesty.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #TheTreeofLife.


  1. It was an amazing event, with a beautiful musical performance. I wish, though, that the balcony would be remodeled. The seats are beyond uncomfortable and the stairs dizzyingly precarious (and with no handrails!).

  2. I suppose I keep having to put this somewhere in hopes that someone from BAM will read it: please keep the theater temperatures at room temperature during performances. I have to imagine it was hovering around 80 degrees on Saturday for the first half of the screening. Then when it finally cooled a bit, it gradually crept back up so that we were back at 80 for the last half hour. This isn't hard - other theaters do not have this issue. Also - a note to Wordless and BAM: if the orchestral accompaniment will not contain the original score for the film, you should think about putting that in the literature (emails, website) before the show. How discouraging is it to have found out that none of the original score for this film would be played by the orchestra and would in fact be played by the original recording? Generally terrible to market these shows the way they are and have that be revealed in the program. Granted, the score was a smaller portion of the music in the film, but still, it was very odd to have those sections of the film not played by the very good orchestra sitting right there.

  3. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your sharing your experience with us. We're sorry to hear that you were uncomfortable during the performance.

    Please rest assured that your feedback is currently being reviewed by our general management team and marketing. We're troubleshooting our HVAC systems to find any improvements that can be made for future performances.

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  5. I purchased two tickets for my husband and I to see this event. I was really excited as I had seen "The Tree of Life" in theatre; This was the most horrid event I've ever attended, purchased tickets for, and sat through.

    What a mess- This was for the First Friday performance. There was late seating one hour and a half into the show! How and why would you allow ticket holders into the show when it has already commenced an hour ago? I can understand the largely disrupting 15-minute grace period which saw a hoard of people shuffling with coats and bags into awkward seats. This should be taken care of before they get inside the venue.

    Why would there be seating at 8:35 PM? Really?! During a singer's performance? What is wrong with management and painting a sanctity and respect to the performers- albeit unjustly served performers by a lowered volume compared to the movie screening.

    I do not understand who green lighted this production and how anyone can enjoy it. It was so terrible. The lighting in the orchestra pit was too bright and distracted from experiencing the film, the orchestra and choir were broadcasted at a lower volume than the movie- how ineffective, the addition of live musical score did nothing to enhance the film, and, lastly, the terrible idea of late seating spilling into the second hour were just outrageous. What a terrible waste of money.

    Also, during the performance there was someone who needed medical attention, probably due to the mediocracy displayed and the astounding disbelief that they too had paid money to see this, and the side doors onto Fulton Street were opened- thereafter ensued a ten minute ramble and tumble of that whole section getting up and shifting / filing their seats. I am sure they all knew, too, that this was a regrettable and uninformed decision to see.

    -Truly disatisfied


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