In Contention


Shedding more light on ‘Tree of Life’

Posted by · 11:33 am · March 14th, 2011

Apologies for the radio silence last week — Kris is still enjoying his hiatus, while I had all manner of dull earthbound duties to take care of. As I kept one eye on Twitter and my regular blog roll, however, I didn’t feel I was missing matters of paramount importance: I have nothing to say about the much-vaunted trailer for “Super 8,” though I look forward to the film, and as much as I’d love to be at SXSW right now, little about the Texan fest is crying out for discussion from a distance.

But one thing I know we’re all hungry for is “The Tree of Life” — and with the Cannes Film Festival now less than two months away, Terrence Malick’s fifth feature is beginning to seem like a real, tangible prospect rather than a rainbow’s-end myth. To fuel the excitement stoked a few months back by the trailer (which I’ve still managed not to see), Russian site Kinopoisk has unearthed over 70 images — many of them set photos rather than stills — for the faithful to pore over. I’ve selected a couple after the cut.

There’s nothing revelatory on display (those dinosaurs we’ve been promised remain firmly under wraps, of course), but they do offer further hints as to the soft play of light we can expect from master DP Emmanuel Lubezki. (They also showcase some impressive costuming work on Jacqueline West’s part, with Jessica Chastain featured prominently.)

I should say that I’m wary of writing, talking or even thinking too much about Malick’s film at the moment. After years of delay, the pressure on the Fox Searchlight release is going to be enormous as it finally reveals itself on the Croisette, and I’m already dreading the frenzied crush of first reviews — not least since I’ll have to write one of them myself. But as a suitably pretty way to ease back into posting on a spring Monday, I couldn’t resist passing these along.

You can check out the whole lot at The Film Stage.




→ 12 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

12 responses so far

  • 1 3-14-2011 at 12:15 pm

    Tye-Grr said...

    These look GORGEOUS. Seriously stunning. Best Cinematography winner already? Maybe!

  • 2 3-14-2011 at 2:34 pm

    DarkLayers said...

    These are stunning and I’m excited too. I don’t know about abroad, but in the states Fox Searchlight has some free screenings and those might be worth looking out for.

    As far as the 11-12 awards season contenders, we saw some War Horse images.

  • 3 3-14-2011 at 2:38 pm

    Sam C. said...

    I’m starting to wonder about The Tree of Life. Malick obviously has some very eager fanboys out there in the blogger and cinema world. I wonder is the “masterpiece” debate will yet again launch in the summer.

  • 4 3-14-2011 at 3:15 pm

    DarkLayers said...

    Sam C.—very likely, it will. I admire AO Scott, and I don’t agree with everything he writes about specific films or criticism, but with the “Inception” debate he mentioned that calling a movie a masterpiece is usually something that goes on later rather than right away. I hope more keep that in mind–and not just fanboys and bloggers but actual critics too. Scott called “Summer Hours” a masterpiece in his review. Mick LaSalle called “New World” a masterpiece right away, too. On the one hand, it’s a word and anyone can use it however they want, but I think there is merit to refrain for time in these instances.

    Regardless, I am very eager to see the film. I imagine the film will have passionate defenders and strong detractors.

  • 5 3-14-2011 at 5:36 pm

    The Great Dane said...

    I will cry if this is a dud. I loved Thin Red Line and could have seen a ten hour version of The New World, had there been one.

    Most of my friends are bored out of their minds by Mallick’s work, but he is a true poet. Love him!

  • 6 3-14-2011 at 8:39 pm

    DarkLayers said...

    How do you feel about his earlier work, great dane? Badlands?

  • 7 3-15-2011 at 8:57 am

    ChrisG said...

    It’s alive! IC, I mean.
    I knew I wasn’t strong enough to avoid the trailer, so I’ve seen it. And it was more intensive than some feature films, though maybe due in part to my enormous expectations. Malick has done three masterpieces (Badlands, Days of Heaven, Thin Red Line) and one very good film (The New World). This one looks just… spectacular. I hope I get along without a second trailer and with little to no reviews at all, until I can finally see it.

  • 8 3-15-2011 at 8:28 pm

    James D. said...

    If The Turin Horse could find its way here this year, it would guarantee two great films in one year. How often does that happen?

  • 9 3-16-2011 at 12:59 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    1) Don’t hold your breath for a 2010 theatrical release for The Turin Horse.

    2) There was at least one even better film at the Berlinale this year.

    3) Describing The Tree of Life, sight unseen, as a guaranteed “great film” is precisely the kind of pressure we shouldn’t be placing on it.

  • 10 3-16-2011 at 5:30 am

    JJ1 said...

    I don’t know if it’s my defense mechanism kicking in, but I actually don’t get good vibes about The Tree of Life. I look forward to being (hopefully) unjustifiably wrong.

  • 11 3-16-2011 at 5:11 pm

    kel said...

    Looks like Kris already has a few options for 2012’s Best Shots listing.

  • 12 3-19-2011 at 3:43 am

    David said...

    Brad Pitt in this movie assures this film that it will be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button of 2011 – All buzz and nominations and no/few wins! B.P. is anathema to any movie’s Oscar aspirations! you can bet on that!