Jessica Chastaine

It feels like a millennium has passed since it was announced that Terrence Malick – aka The Man Who Won’t Be Rushed – would be next turning his hand to The Tree of Life, which landed at Cannes this morning to shed light on its most infuriatingly purblind synopsis, and a mysterious trailer that didn’t exactly clear things up. Would Malick be able to live up to the increasingly stifling expectations heaped on him by his infamously ponderous post-production technique? Could the film recapture the director’s incredible eye for composition and visuals, or would we be treated to another mess of in-determination, whose quality of substance wildly misses that of its aesthetic, as some have come to predict? Flicking through the accompanying press pack, it is striking to note how much those involved in the film’s production seem to insist on its deep, universally appropriate meaning, and the fact that the film should be judged not as something conventional cinematic, but rather as a unique and visceral experience, infinite in scope, organic, which transcends words and definition. If the alarm bells hadn’t already been ringing, the bell-ringer would surely have collapsed with exhaustion at this point.

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