Over the weekend Emanuel Lubezki -- the cinematographer who worked with Terrence Malick on The Tree of Life -- said in an interview when discussing Malick's editing that Malick is preparing a 6 hour cut of The Tree of Life. This is astonishing for multiple reasons.
First is that a 6 hour long movie of any kind is an absurd oddity. Second is that a 6 hour cut of this particular film -- which may be the best of the millennium -- is an absurd oddity that will have film lovers salivating in anticipation. The third reason is that this is the busiest Malick has ever been in his career. He has just completed The Tree of Life, he's already competed shooting on a new film, and he's apparently in the ongoing process of working on Voyage of Time, a feature length documentary that is an extrapolation of the sequence from The Tree of Life that depicts the creation and evolution of the universe. Add to this that he's apparently simultaneously editing a 6-hour cut of The Tree of Life and that's a lot of activity for a man who is known for extended periods of inactivity. Though the 6-hour cut might not be as labor intensive because he's winnowing it down from an initial 8-hour cut of the movie that already exists.
Apparently the long cut will feature a lot more of the material from the young boys lives, which makes sense. It will be very interesting to see how this turns out. It's difficult to imagine improving upon the current 2.5 hour cut of the film, which seems perfectly paced and proportioned. I wonder if it will be released on director's cut DVD (hopefully Criterion) or if it will get a limited cinematic re-release? Or whether it will ever see any kind of release at all? In any case, I absolutely can't wait to see it.