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?'"
[Poster via IMDb]