The Tree of Life: in the beginning, there was a mystery

Brad Pitt © AFP

Thirty two years after receiving the award for Best Director for Days of Heaven (1979), Terrence Malick returns In Competiton at Cannes with his fifth film, The Tree of Life, an enigmatic feature film with an ambitious synopsis.

Originally planned for the 2010 Selection, The Tree of Life directed by Terrence Malick will, in the end, be screened this year In Competition. Once again, the director offers a stellar casting with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, who he already directed in The Thin Red Line. Audiences will also get to know the actress, Jessica Chastain, in her first major film role. Malick entrusted Français Alexandre Desplat, member of the Jury at Cannes last year, with the task of composing the film’s music.
Very little is known about this feature film besides the few images that appear in its trailer and its synopsis. The American director depicts the memories of Jack, a boy raised in the 1950s by an authoritarian father and a loving mother. Following the birth of his two brothers, Jack must learn to share the unconditional love he receives and face up to the exaggerated individualism of his father who is obsessed with the success of his offspring. Then one day a tragic incident tips this already precarious balance…
Alongside this storyline, Terence Malick offers a view of humanity since its creation. The Tree of Life is an ambitious project which is as mysterious as Malick himself, a man known for his reserved nature. His infrequent cinematographic works – only 5 films in 36 years – and the 20-year gap between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line have served to heighten anticipation of The Tree of Life. The recent release of a collection of fragments of the film on its official website has in no way diminished this excitement: a mosaic made up of 70 stills in which a dinosaur, a lava flow, a waterfall and diverse family scenes are all juxtaposed… A multiple photo frame that tells an enigmatic story. The Festival de Cannes will today unlock the secret of this feature film by screening it the day before it premieres in cinemas across France.




The film will be screened at 8:30 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Grand Théâtre Lumière.