For me there are only two films that stand out from the others in the first half of 2011 and those have to be Incendies and Tree of Life.
Incendies is a Canadian film where twins in their late twenties are grasping at the sudden death of their mom only to realize her will asks the son, Simon to deliver a letter to the father they have never met and the daughter, Jeanne, to send a letter out a brother they have never known before. Simon relents and Jeanne is burdened with accomplished the dying wish of her mother Nawel. This journey takes her through the homeland of her mother in a nation without a name but with clear intentions to resemble Palestine. We flashback to her Mother, Nawel as she births the twins and her son as she set in the middle of a war of religion and goes through an unprecedented evolution that takes your breath away. The films intercuts the two story of Jeanne and her trying to understand who her mother was, what she did and why she sent her and simon on this journey. This film had me gasping in horror, laughing at social differences and crying at the pure chaos and order that the ending shows. See this movie.
Tree of Life is the fifth film by Terrance Mallick in the span of 30 years. The man has not made many films but made important ones. Films that you should seek out and movies that make you think on the intentions of man, religion, persons and our place in the world, universe and the purpose we hold. Tree of Life holds no bars in reaching high and far in trying to make you think. It shows the beginning of the universe, the creation of the sun, the evolution of life and yes, dinosaurs. This is also a family story on how children see their parents and the adolescent mind and how easy it can bend. Jack fears his father, loves his mother and is torn on who he should be. All of Mallicks protagonists go through similar arch’s of love, hate, disgust and retribution but differently. The final moments in the film had my heart pounding and my mind racing. What does it mean? What is religion to this man, where d we go after death? See this movie.
Honestly, nothing can compare to these two films that I've seen this year.
What about you? What do you think are the best films to come out so far this year?