While Terrence Malick's latest film "Tree Of Life" won't be playing Cannes, that hasn't stopped even more details about the year's most anticipated film (sorry, "Inception") hitting the web over the weekend.
The source is an anonymous commenter named "Stan" who posted some intriguing info about the film in the comments section of a /Film story about Vincent Gallo. The subject turned to Malick and shortly after "camera" revealed there was a secret screening for the film in Austin, "Stan" replied with details of what went down. While this could be total bullshit, the general level-headedness of the comments combined with the details within make us believe its true. And hell, we're excited for this film so we'll take any news about it anywhere we can find it. Anyway, here is what "Stan" had to say:
This is the first real news on the status of the film after earlier in the year Apparition head Bill Pohlad said the film "is in fact finished" while acquistions honcho Sara Rose said the film is "almost certainly headed for Cannes." It looks like those statements were a little premature. It seems like the notoriously meticulous Malick is still putting the final details and effects in place for his film and won't rush that last 3% to get the film in a cannister and fly it to the south of France.
[The secret screening has] already occurred. He screened it to an audience of about thirty, and it’s literally 97% done. Our boss was able to see it, and called it the best film of his since “Badlands.” ['Tree Of Life' cinematographer] Emmanuel Lubezki was in attendance, as was some vfx gurus (one of which was my boss).It will not make Cannes. The visual effects aren’t done, but the footage that we’ve worked on is near complete. The reason for the delay in post is because of the amount of detail IMAX 70 MM requires. I can assure you that the results are worth the wait.
Our house is referring to [the IMAX footage] as “Voyage of Time.” I don’t know if it will be a separate documentary. Terrence has made sure that we work on footage without knowing too much of the plot or reason behind it. It’s always about a feeling or an emotion. He is definitely the most interesting director we’ve had the pleasure of working with, and probably the only who’s interacted with the digital artists themselves. He has never settled for results less than immaculate, but is humble and patient about it.
Our guess is that the small test screening was to see what the overall shape of the film is looking like, and help Malick indicate where he finds to fine tune. As for the parallel documentary "Voyage Of Time," there is some speculation that it might just be a code word for the IMAX footage of "Tree Of Life," but as "Stan" notes, Malick is keeping his cards close to the chest in terms of what that footage is actually for so we'll leave it as supposition for now.
As our readers have pointed out in, this isn't the first screening the film has had. According to an article in La Monde, Cannes head Theirry Fremaux saw the film nearly a month ago and invited it to the Croisette (obviously, he had to see it before inviting it), while French distributors EuropaCorp have also seen it with General Director Pierre-Ange Le Pogom saying, "Already, the story is very beautiful. And I can tell you that this film, whose story takes place over several decades, fully deserved its place in Cannes!". Just a reminder, the comment regarding the time-spanning nature of the film makes sense as "Tree Of Life" tracks a father (Brad Pitt)/son (Sean Penn) relationship over several decades.
However, with the film only a few inches away from the goal line, a Venice or Toronto unveiling is looking more and more likely and a fall release date a near certainty. Sorry Cannes, maybe next time.