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Tree of Life Will Not Open in the U.K. Before Cannes After All, Gets New Poster UPDATED

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 28, 2011 at 10:25AM

Thierry Fremaux does not have to fume. After he waited a long year for The Tree of Life to finally debut at the Cannes Film Festival, Brit film mag Empire reported that the Terrence Malick fllm would open first in the U.K., on May 4. Domestic distributor Fox Searchlight now informs me that the story is not true. That means that Brit reviews of the film will NOT spread before the assembled critics see it in the Palais. We still don't know if the film will be in competition. UPDATE: Empire has double-checked with Icon (I too have a call into them) and are sticking to their reported date. Fox Searchlight, truth be told, is not in charge of when a movie opens in the UK; Summit International is. UPDATE: Sources close to the film assert that The Tree of Life will make its debut at Cannes, and nowhere else.
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Thompson on Hollywood


Thierry Fremaux does not have to fume. After he waited a long year for The Tree of Life to finally debut at the Cannes Film Festival, Brit film mag Empire reported that the Terrence Malick fllm would open first in the U.K., on May 4. Domestic distributor Fox Searchlight now informs me that the story is not true. That means that Brit reviews of the film will NOT spread before the assembled critics see it in the Palais. We still don't know if the film will be in competition. UPDATE: Empire has double-checked with Icon (I too have a call into them) and are sticking to their reported date. Fox Searchlight, truth be told, is not in charge of when a movie opens in the UK; Summit International is. UPDATE: Sources close to the film assert that The Tree of Life will make its debut at Cannes, and nowhere else.

In any case, Cannes will get major movie stars Sean Penn and Brad Pitt to walk up the red carpet steps, which is a crucial aspect to the whole Cannes circus. The trailer, the full new poster (complete with dinosaur) and an early description of the film are below.

The film is book-ended by Jack O'Brien (Sean Penn) who looks back on growing up with his parents (Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain). Pitt, according to someone who has seen the film, gives an awards-worthy performance, along with Chastain. The movie is technically gorgeous, shot by Emmanuel Lubezki and designed by Jack Fisk, with practical visual effects by Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey). Composer Alexandre Desplat assembled a classical score. And the narrative is experimental and non-conventional, says the source:

"It's a mystical exploration of the meaning of life, a journey in which a microcosm of a family mirrors the world; the differences between man and woman, husband and wife, are mirrored against nature and grace. It will change the language of movies. It's a real event. People will say, 'what the fuck is this?'"

Thompson on Hollywood

[Poster via IMDb]

This article is related to: Festivals, Genres, Headliners, Studios, Video, Cannes, Period, Brad Pitt, Fox Searchlight, Trailers


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.