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

by Anne Thompson
March 28, 2011 10:25 AM
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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]


  • Donald Clarke | March 30, 2011 11:22 AMReply

    Just to add to the chatter, I have talked to the Irish distributor, Eclipse Pictures, and they have confirmed that Icon is, as Helen says, sticking with the May 4th opening (both here and in the UK). Anne, I'm not sure who your source "close to the film" is, but they seem to know something that Icon does not.

    Donald Clarke, Irish Times Film Correspondent.

  • N.D. | March 29, 2011 5:57 AMReply

    Update: Following something of a kerfuffle on some American websites overnight, we have double-checked with Icon that this remains the release date, and it is definitely May 4.
    Helen O'Hara

  • DW | March 29, 2011 3:45 AMReply

    With all due respect, Fox disputing the story is not the same as saying that it is "not true". Icon did announce that date. Whether they change it later is another matter.

  • Guy Lodge | March 28, 2011 8:42 AMReply

    Though I agree an out-of-competition slot is likely, why does this news "end speculation"? A film needn't premiere at Cannes to compete -- as was the case with Broken Embraces two years ago.

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