NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

The Tree Of Life Movie Review

By     get stories by email

While the crossroads of identity and ancestry can make for rich material to explore in a biopic, designating oneself as the filmmaker in a movie about yourself may not be the best idea. Hava Volterra's The Tree Of Life has moments of uncommon creativity and poignancy, but often comes dangerously close to crossing the line between familial self-examination and home movies.

Volterra is a career woman transplanted from Israel to California, with ancestral roots in Italy dating back to the Middle Ages. An electrical engineer by trade with a digital imaging background, Volterra combines delightfully whimsical animation with puppetry and assorted talking heads experts, family colleagues and relatives alike, to shape quite a wealth of often fascinating details into a short amount of running time.

The best moments of The Tree of Life are revelations about her family interacting with key historical moments through the centuries. In particular the history of Jews as they contended with the roles of outsiders and victims in Europe, no matter how esteemed their stature in Italian society.

Less engaging are far too self-indulgent and extended interludes when Volterra reminisces with scholars and relatives across three continents about more contemporary family members, conversations which may be a great deal more fascinating to the filmmaker herself, than eavesdropping audiences. And while there's an affectionate focus on a forbear who earned a reputation as an Italian mystic centuries ago, her own late father's embrace of communism is barely touched upon, as if a personal embarrassment. How and why he embraced communism, his ensuing related persecution and how it informed his life and his path to Zionism and relocation to Israel, would have been an intriguing subject to explore further.

Interim CEO Films
2 1/2 stars

Prairie Miller is a multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio. Contact her through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

This race hate documentary chronicles neo-Nazi relocation to Leith, a small town in North Dakota, and what the locals did to get rid of the supremacists.
Prairie Miller has a conversation with Ben Vereen, about Time Out of Mind, his movie with Richard Gere, a film about the homeless struggling to survive.
A power-hungry ruthless assassin mobster wants to muscle-in on illegal Mafia rackets in the Italian North End. An intimidating, monster with no conscience.
Directed by Anne Fletcher, Hot Pursuit is a mindless diversion chock-full of the staples of the unlikely-buddies genre, like car chases, and accidental drug use.
Three big budget films. Paper Towns, Pixels and Southpaw. Teens saving a neighbor, retro-gamers saving the planet and a southpaw boxer saving himself.
A post-slavery purge of blacks resulted in a whitening of the Argentine population, as immigrants from Italy, France, Lebanon and Syria were welcomed.


NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month

Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

Copyright © 2004-2015 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site