For fans of Terrence Malick, the last few years have been an unexpected delight. Between when he started in the 1970s with the sublime Badlands and the mid-aughts, when he directed the staggeringly gorgeous The New World, Malick directed a total of four films, each one a masterwork in its own right. That’s 32 years, mind you, and if it were any other director, attention would have faded tremendously between each one of those works. And yet, when The New World and 1998’s The Thin Red Line were released, there was a sizable contingency of moviegoers that went absolutely off their rocker with anticipation. I know them, and I am often one of them.
So, when 2011’s The Tree of Life, a miracle of a movie, was quickly followed up with To the Wonder and this year’s exquisite Knight of Cups, people got a lot more excited. The filmmaker also has another film being released in October, the existential documentary The Voyage of Time, and Weightless, his film based around the Texas music industry, starring Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender, will likely see release by the end of 2017. Now, THR is reporting that Malick is signing up for another new project, one that will return him to the period detail he strutted along with in The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life.
The film is called Radegund, and it tells the story of Franz Jagerstatter, a conscientious objector in France during World War II who was executed by the Nazis in 1943. Jagerstatter will be played by August Diehl, who you might remember as, ironically, an SS soldier in Quentin Tarantino‘s excellent Inglorious Bastards (as the German soldier who interrupts Fassbender’s card game); Austrian actress Valerie Pachner is also set to appear in the project. Not surprisingly, Malick’s involvement and the unique timbre of the story transcends my usual disdain for most modern films made about World War II. He’s exactly the kind of director that would make such familiar terrain feel liberated and completely new.