Inside the 2011 Cannes Film Festival Day 6: Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life

Cannes 2011 The Tree of Life Press Conference

Despite not knowing how the festival will play out, Monday, May the 16th is when the highlight of the 2011 edition premiered and the official press conference as you can see in the video below had media folk in a frenzy. After a long post-production schedule (Terrence Malick had an overwhelming huge amount of film to work with) The Tree of Life was indeed worth the wait. Since I’ve been attending the festival, there hasn’t been one instance where a filmmaker doesn’t show up for his/her film’s official Cannes press conference (in hindsight, perhaps Lars von Trier should have done the same) and so many of the questions directed towards Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Malick’s producers had to do with Malick’s filmmaking process and intimate questions as to what kind of man Malick is. A recluse, an artist, a theologist, a spiritualist, and a philosopher, we learn that this artist rented out an entire block, dressed it as the 50′s and worked from a dense script, and was more interested in catching the moment of truth and going off script than working with a specific map. Working with natural light and hand-held splendor — a liberated method of filmmaking that needed no butterfly-wranglers, this is an all encompassing film, that is, as Pitt describes, microscopic and macroscopic in detail – moving from southern 50′s upbringing, complicated and sibling family dynamics, with emotions such as anger and love colliding with planetary and universal themes. Masterpiece is one word I can use to describe the picture.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, editor-in-chief and film critic at IONCINEMA.com (founded in 2000). Eric splits his time between his home base in Montreal, NYC, and is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (La Promesse), Haneke (Caché), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry), Lynch (Mulholland Dr.), Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho), von Trier (Breaking the Waves)