‘Tree of Life’ not waiting for Cannes?

Posted by · 8:33 am · October 2nd, 2010

When Terrence Malick’s endlessly postponed “The Tree of Life” was finally handed over to Fox Searchlight and ruled a 2011 release, the conversation turned to which festival would get to host the film’s premiere. Many pundits (myself included) assumed that Cannes’s top dog status — in terms of both red-carpet allure and awards heft — would get it the gig, but if this tweet from the ever well-informed C├ędric Succivalli is to be believed, we could be seeing it earlier than that.

Succivalli writes that the film’s French distributor EuropaCorp has confirmed a February 23 release date, obviously ruling out a Cannes appointment three months later. That leaves only two major fests where it could potentially bow: Sundance (an idea Anne Thompson previously floated on Oscar Talk) and Berlin.

Interestingly, the mid-February Berlinale was the festival of choice for both “The Thin Red Line” (which won the Golden Bear) and “The New World” (which played out of competition), even if neither film actually had its world premiere there. So it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see “The Tree of Life” extend that relationship.

Though Berlin, which has struggled in recent years to match Cannes and Venice for prestige, would offer a lower-profile platform for the film than we might have expected, that could also work in its favor — at this stage, Searchlight must be seeking somehow to ease pressure on the overdue, and feverishly anticipated, film.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that the film could shirk the festival circuit entirely. As mentioned above, neither of Malick’s last two features premiered at a festival, but they were also heading into the publicity rush of awards season — a gamble that really didn’t pay off for the overly rushed “The New World.” A high-end festival still seems the most sympathetic place to launch a reportedly challenging arthouse piece like “The Tree of Life,” and if Berlin does get the nod, consider my plane ticket booked.

[Photo: Fox Searchlight]

→ 19 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

19 responses so far

  • 1 10-02-2010 at 8:54 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    If it’s coming out in February in France then how about the US?

    Also OT Guy but I just watched Certified Copy last night. Were they married for 15 years or did they just meet? Or are we not supposed to have any idea??

  • 2 10-02-2010 at 8:56 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “Were they married for 15 years or did they just meet?”

    Well, this is the question that fuelled many a conversation at Cannes. What do you think?

  • 3 10-02-2010 at 8:58 am

    The Dude said...

    It’s amazing that, despite all the hoopla over this year’s contenders, “TOL” is still my most anticipated. I just wish that, if this thing was gonna debut outside a festival, it would land in the US first!

  • 4 10-02-2010 at 9:04 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    Well I don’t know and that is why I am asking. I thought they were probably married because if they just met they would both have to be pretty insane to be acting like that. Then Juliette Binoche came on stage and said her character is insane, so yeah maybe they just met!

    It reminded me of a Before Sunrise/Before Sunset as directed by Charlie Kaufman.

  • 5 10-02-2010 at 9:18 am

    Michael said...

    Well from what I can find online, it appears The Tree of Life may still be released in Australia through Icon on December 26. This could obviously be wrong, just information that has not been updated perhaps, but I’m going to hold my breath until then just in case.

  • 6 10-02-2010 at 9:34 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Matthew: I think the film supports a range of interpretations. It runs on poetic, rather than narrative, logic: perhaps they’re a couple and don’t themselves remember that at the outset?

    Hope you enjoyed, either way.

  • 7 10-02-2010 at 9:40 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Same info coming from the Netherlands. It’s currently listed as “February 2011 TBC”.

  • 8 10-02-2010 at 10:31 am

    Danielle said...

    I know that A Dangerous Method plans on having its premier at the Berlin Film Festival.

  • 9 10-02-2010 at 11:22 am

    Mr. Gittes said...

    “A Dangerous Method” is chock-full of Oscar potentials. Know it now.

  • 10 10-02-2010 at 11:31 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to A Dangerous Method. And Gittes, I sincerely hope it’s as Oscar-unfriendly as can be.

  • 11 10-02-2010 at 11:35 am

    Danielle said...

    Mr. Gittes, have you read the script or know any inside information, or are you basing that on what we all know? :)

    I’m really hoping this is a slam dunk for Keira.

  • 12 10-02-2010 at 11:43 am

    Mr. Gittes said...

    “A Dangerous Method” will be very oscar-unfriendly from what I’ve been able to gather about the picture. Awesome. But ten best pic slots suddenly make a lot of movies oscar-friendly. Ten slots! Quick! Fill ’em!


  • 13 10-02-2010 at 1:04 pm

    Mitchell said...

    I’m confused. I wasn’t following this kind of stuff since they came out, so where did they premiere if it wasn’t Berlin? They weren’t already out yet.

  • 14 10-02-2010 at 1:35 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    They were. Both had already been released in the US the previous December — the typical Oscar-season drill.

    Not all festival films are necessarily premieres.

  • 15 10-03-2010 at 8:01 pm

    rosengje said...

    Didn’t Zodiac also play Cannes despite having opened in the US in March?

  • 16 10-04-2010 at 1:09 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yes, that’s right — Cannes only hosted the European premiere. (The festival needn’t even have that honor — Broken Embraces opened in Spain months before it played Cannes.)

    It does, however, have to own the French premiere, which is why I say that date — if true — rules out Cannes.