EVR 1001 Tree of Life by David Attenborough Video Discussion
EVR 1001 Tree of Life by David Attenborough Video Discussion
Watch the video Tree of Life by David Attenborough. Note: If this link to the video does not work you can always search for it by name and it will appear in YouTube.
Select “Create Thread” first, then paste/type your answers. Your answers should be in your own words after having watched the video and reading other sources of information for reference, such as your textbook. Post your answers to these questions before responding to classmates’ posts. Note: your initial post, to these questions, must be posted first, in chronological order, before your response posts.
1. Describe two examples of natural selection, from the Galapagos Islands, that Darwin observed and were described in the video.
2. Name two examples of artificial selection.
3. How is artificial selection different than natural selection?
4. How does the production of more offspring than will survive play a role in natural selection?
5. What is the significance of Archaeopteryx?
6. How is it that a structure, as complex as an eye, can be produced by natural selection?
7. Why is it that religion and theories of evolution conflict?
8. What scientific evidence has been discovered since Darwin’s time that supports evolution by natural selection?
9. Name 2 groups of organisms that were described from the tree of life. Relate these groups to their position on the tree and to other closely related groups.
he Tree of Life is a 2011 American art film written and directed by Terrence Malick and featuring a cast of Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Jessica Chastain, and Tye Sheridan in his debut feature film role. The film chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man’s childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, interspersed with imagery of the origins of the known universe and the inception of life on Earth.
After several years in development and missing its planned 2009 and 2010 release dates, The Tree of Life premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Palme d’Or. It ranked number one on review aggregator Metacritic’s “Top Ten List of 2011”, and made more critics’ year-end lists for 2011 than any other film. It appeared in the 2012 Sight & Sound critics’ poll of the world’s top 250 films as well as BBC’s poll of the greatest American films, one of the few 21st-century works to be included in either. The film was also later named the seventh-greatest film since 2000 in a BBC poll of 177 critics. In December 2019, The Tree of Life topped The Associated Press’ list of the best films of the 2010s. The Tree of Life received three Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography.
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The film begins with a quotation from the Book of Job 38:4-7: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?… When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Then a mysterious, flame-like light flickers in the darkness.
Around the 1960s, Mrs. and Mr. O’Brien are informed of the death of their 19-year-old son, R.L., throwing the family into turmoil. Circa 2010, the O’Briens’ eldest son, Jack, is adrift in his modern life as an architect, though disillusioned by his youth. Amid all this, voiceovers from Ms. O’Brien asks God why R.L. had to die.
In a suburban neighborhood in Waco, Texas, live the O’Briens. The young couple is enthralled by their new baby Jack and, later, his two brothers R.L. and Stevie. When Jack reaches adolescence, he is faced with the conflict of accepting the way of grace or nature, as embodied by his parents. Mrs. O’Brien, the embodiment of grace, presents the world to her sons as a place of wonder. Mr. O’Brien, the embodiment of nature, easily loses his temper as he struggles to reconcile his love for his sons, wanting to prepare them for a world he sees as corrupt and exploitative. He laments his decision to work in a power plant instead of pursuing his passion for music, and tries to get ahead by filing patents for various inventions.
Midway through the film, visuals depict the birth of the universe, followed by the creation of the Earth and the beginning of life. At the end of the sequence, a dinosaur chooses not to kill another dinosaur that is injured and lying on the side of a river bed. Finally, an asteroid strikes the Earth.
Jack’s perceptions of the world begin to change after two of his friends die in separate accidents. He becomes angry at his father’s bullying behavior and begins to keep a running tally of Mr. O’Brien’s hypocrisies and misdeeds, lashing out at Mrs. O’Brien for tolerating his father. One summer, Mr. O’Brien takes a long business trip; the boys enjoy unfettered access to their mother, and Jack experiences the first twinges of rebelliousness. Goaded by peers, Jack commits acts of vandalism and animal abuse, and later trespasses into the house of his crush, stealing her sheer nightgown. Confused and angered by his feelings of sexuality and guilty trespass, Jack fearfully throws it into a river. Shortly after Mr. O’Brien returns, the plant that he works at closes; he is given the option of relocating to work in an inferior position within the firm or losing his job. As he and his family pack up to move to the new job; he laments the course his life has taken, and asking Jack to forgive his domineering behavior; Jack reflectively says he embodies nature.
In the present, Jack leaves work. Riding the elevator up, he envisions following a young girl across rocky terrain. As he walks through a wooden door frame erected on the rocks, he sees a view of the far distant future in which the sun expands into a red giant, engulfing Earth and then shrinking into a white dwarf. Someone says “follow me” in the darkness, and candles are lit. After emerging from rustic doors, Jack follows the girl, then a young version of himself, across surreal landscapes. On a sandbar, Jack sees images of the dead returning to life. He is reunited with his family and all the people who populate his memory. Jack encounters his young brother and brings him to his parents, who say goodbye to him as he steps out of a home into a vast expanse. Accompanied by two women in white, Mrs. O’Brien looks to the sky and whispers, “I give him to you. I give you my son.”
Jack’s vision ends and he leaves the building smiling. A suspension bridge is shown, and the film ends as the mysterious light continues to flicker in the darkness.