Malik’s “Tree of Life” Wins Cannes Palm d’Or, But There is More to the Story.


 Hey! If I make the scoop, then I pick the photo! 

“The Tree of Life” probably deserved to win, but after the infamous meltdown and banishment of Lars Van Trier, the competition for one of the most coveted awards, the Palm d’Or, was seriously narrowed.

Last week, Van Trier was speaking at a press conference and  launched into a bizarre and offensive rant about nazis and his ancestry. This did not sit well with the officials who govern the world’s most prominent foreign film festival.

“The Tree of Life”  is by Terrence Malik  and stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. The story is about three brothers who live in the 1950s.  One brother experiences the loss of innocence, according to IMDB.

The interesting thing (and problem) is that this film has had some of the most bizarre and incomprehensible reviews of any film in history.  


 The Hollywood Reporter:

 “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. … Critical passions, pro and con, along with Brad Pitt in one of his finest performances, will stir specialized audiences to attention…”



 “With his new film, Malick has essentially parted the veil. He has abandoned the oblique historical narratives of his previous two pictures, “The Thin Red Line” and “The New World,” to tell an intimate wisp of a story that allows him to address his cosmic concerns in the most direct, least compromised manner possible. Yet far from feeling slight, the film surprisingly emerges as Malick’s most emotionally accessible work since 1978’s “Days of Heaven,” so primal and recognizable are the childlike perceptions and feelings he puts onscreen,”

The Guardian

” Terrence Malick’s mad and magnificent film descends slowly, like some sort of prototypical spaceship: it’s a cosmic-interior epic of vainglorious proportions, a rebuke to realism, a disavowal of irony and comedy, a meditation on memory, and a gasp of horror and awe at the mysterious inevitability of loving, and losing those we love.”

Holy cow.

I will watch the film in order to see Brad Pitt. Many may disagree, but he is a fine actor who is custom built for epic, complex and life questioning films, which is what The Tree of Life appears to be.

  Van Trier was accused of being a fan of Hitler and a Nazi supporter, but the truth is less definitive. Many are upset that Cannes and the French can harbor Roman Polanski or give Mel Gibson a standing ovation, but that a sleep deprived director cannot get a break for rambling about his German/Jewish background.  

Others saw the speech as an attempt at satire that went very, very wrong. 

Van Trier did not know about his German father until he was in his 30’s, when his mother gave a deathbed revelation.

He has always been an unpredictable force in filmmaking and has been recognized at Cannes for years without ever winning the Palm d’Or.