First things first: This is Terrence Malick we’re talking about, the mysterious genius behind Badlands, A Thin Red Line (and not that many others, when you consider that he’s been at it for almost 50 years), so it’s no surprise that our collective knowledge about his new film, Knight of Cups, has been extremely minimal. That changes today, sort of, with the release of the official trailer. The film stars Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, and Cate Blanchett, and can loosely be described as a treatise on celebrity culture in Hollywood.
But don’t think for a minute that any of this will be straightforward. The only way to really know what this movie will be about is to actually see it, and even then you might be grasping at air. Even after watching this trailer, we’re still pretty much in the dark—an ignorance that becomes even more apparent when you transcribe some of Malick’s trademark whispery voiceovers from the trailer:
“All these years, I was living the life of someone I don’t even know.”
“Let me tell you about you.”
“See the palm trees? They tell you anything’s possible.”
“No one cares about reality anymore.”
“I can’t remember the man I wanted to be.”
“You don’t want love. You want the love experience.”
“I was free when I was young. Free of life.”
“Once the soul was perfect and had wings, and could soar into heaven.”
“Find your way from darkness to light. Remember.”
You get the drift—it’s going to be contemplative, and ethereal, and beautiful, and probably frustratingly opaque. Speaking of opaque, here’s the synopsis, per Deadline:
Once there was a young prince whose father, the king of the East, sent him down into Egypt to find a pearl. But when the prince arrived, the people poured him a cup. Drinking it, he forgot he was the son of a king, forgot about the pearl and fell into a deep sleep. Rick’s father used to read this story to him as a boy. The road to the East stretches out before him. Will he set forth?
Knight of Cups will make its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, and come out in the U.S. on March 4.