Terrence Malick did come to Cannes, even if he didn't show up for The Tree of Life
press conference, having asked Brad Pitt to do his heavy lifting
for him. Fox Searchlight did not beg the director to walk the red carpet for the photographers, as did Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (pictured), but Malick did enter the Palais right before the movie in order to hear the announcer boom the magic words: "L'auteur, Terrence Malick!"-- amid thundering standing applause. Per usual, the film played far better than at the press screening, which elicited an equal measure of clapping and boos. At the official screening, Malick won a sustained standing ovation.
Check out Time's Richard Corliss, Film Society of Lincoln Center's Scott Foundas, and Manohla Dargis's review, which cites the Bible, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Walt Whitman, in that order.