Monday, May 30, 2011

Palme d'Or 2011 at Cannes

Tree of Life has received some extremely polarizing reviews. Some have hailed it as a masterpiece while others booed it. As of this writing, it is floating somewhere in the 90% range on Rotten Tomatoes.  The site's consensus seems to be that "Terrence Malick's singularly deliberate style may prove unrewarding for some, but for patient viewers, Tree of Life is an emotional as well as visual treat."
This is the theatrical release poster for Tree of Life
It did receive the prestigious Palme d'Or this year which (as you may already know) is the highest honor given to a single film that makes its premiere at Cannes.

Here is what some of the critics have to say about it:
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave it a perfect five stars and states it is an "unashamedly epic reflection on love and loss" and a "mad and magnificent film."

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter states "Brandishing an ambition it’s likely no film, including this one, could entirely fulfill, The Tree of Life is nonetheless a singular work, an impressionistic metaphysical inquiry into mankind’s place in the grand scheme of things that releases waves of insights amidst its narrative imprecisions."

Justin Chang of Variety states the film "represents something extraordinary" and "is in many ways his simplest yet most challenging work, a transfixing odyssey through time and memory that melds a young boy's 1950s upbringing with a magisterial rumination on the Earth's origins."

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone states "Shot with a poet's eye, Malick's film is a groundbreaker, a personal vision that dares to reach for the stars."
 Some facts about the film:
  1. Filming began in the great state of Texas. Locations include Smithville, Houston, Matagorda, Austin, and Malick's hometown of Waco.
  2. The namesake of the film is a large live oak that was excavated a few miles outside Smithville. The tree weighed 65,000 pounds with root ball and was replanted.
  3. In a March 2011 interview, the visual effects supervisor, Dan Glass, stated that the film would feature microbial and astronomical imagery, along with dinosaurs. He summarized the film as "a very powerful movie about memories, emotions, and our place in the world."
I really want to see this film. It premieres here in Salt Lake City on June 17th, 2011 (I've marked my calendar). I predict that the film will resonate strongly with me as my personal outlook on the universe has also left me wondering if the lives that we live have any meaning at all.


  1. It sounds really boring like "The Fountain." A lot of navel gazing really.

  2. I think this sounds pretty good.

  3. It looks like a beautiful movie.

    I love film in and of itself, but as I've gotten older, my tolerance for "navel gazing," as Rogue Mutt says, is much lower than, say, when I was in college. And it seems like, from what the reviews you've quoted say, this is the kind of movie that might only make sense to the filmmaker.

    It's interesting that it won the Palme d'Or. Didn't it also get booed at the showing at Cannes?

    Still, I'll probably see it.

  4. Okay...I have no idea what navel gazing is but I assume it has nothing to do with navel oranges.

    Brent: it has received really polarizing reviews. Either people absolutely love it or they hate it. I think it looks really good.

  5. Navel gazing means staring at your navel, which is about as much fun as some of these art films.

    Not that I need every film to be an action fest or laugh riot, but if we're talking about the images and symbolism then that's a short way of saying it doesn't really have a plot and I'd probably need someone to poke me with a stick every fifteen minutes to make sure I stay awake.

  6. Thanks for the summary. I will have to check it out.

  7. To me, navel gazing means self-important, self-involved, self-ish maybe. But it's a way of describing something that seems really deep but many people don't really understand what the point is. I think Malick's movies have been accused of that before.

  8. I'm looking forward to this movie. I love ambition and a strong personal voice in film. In my opinion we need more people making more challenging films like Malick and Coppola, and less stuff about Mall Cops and transforming robots.

  9. We live within walking distance from a movie theater. I am going to keep an eye out for this one. Seems like it touches human sore points and may be provide some soothing balm, ( the best I could do translating idioms froms my langauage, so don't laugh) I don't mean to sound cheesy.
    As for meaning of life, I may have found it to some extent. Well if you say that we either do or don't,(like my husband says), then I haven't.

  10. I'll be in Idaho for the SCA thing I do in the summer - Uprising... Won't be able to go see it opening night. I'd enjoy going to see with you after I return if you love it and want to go a second or third time. :D

  11. Interesting. I'd like to see it too, if only to make up my own mind about it.