With the release of Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life set for exactly a month from today, more news is coming in. First up, we can put a rest to the Icon/UK release date fiasco. The Independent has acquired an official statement, which can be viewed below.

The film The Tree of Life, starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, is set to be one of the most high-profile screenings at next month’s Cannes Festival. However, British audiences may have to wait somewhat longer to see the movie, after its UK distributor said it had scrapped its planned release date.

The film was originally due to open in Britain on 4 May but a legal row between Icon Film Distribution and the international sales agent for the film, Los Angeles-based Summit Entertainment, led to Icon stating that it currently had no plans to release the movie in this country.

“Things have changed in the past few hours,” a spokesman for Icon said. “We now won’t be releasing The Tree of Life on 4 May and currently have no release plans for the film. All enquiries should be referred to Summit.”

That puts the premiere of The Tree of Life firmly during Cannes Film Festival, which runs from the 11th to the 22nd of May. If you are lucky enough to live in either locations, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is having a Malick retrospective before The Tree of Life US debut (one can find more info at LA Times), and The Museum of Moving Image is doing their own in NYC (more info here). It’s fantastic they are providing the opportunity to view Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, and The New World in theaters before The Tree of Life hits. If you haven’t see them all, I highly suggest it.

Amazon has also put up samples of every track from Alexandre Desplat‘s score. There are also reports that the entire score is available to purchase on UK iTunes store, among others. The official US release for the score is May 24th.

1. Childhood
2. Circles
3. Clouds
4. River
5. Awakening
6. Emergence of Life
7. Light & Darkness
8. Good & Evil
9. Motherhood
10. City of Glass
11. Fatherhood
12. Temptation
13. Skies

We also have a new German poster via Filmering. That site also has a German trailer, which is identical to the recently posted recut Cannes trailer. Check it out below, followed by new screening impressions via IMDb and photos via TwoWaysThroughLife.

First of all, This movie will be very polarizing, in the same way Antichrist was.

It’s far less of a narrative story than I was expecting and more of a tone poem in the vein of Tarkovksy’s work. Tonally, it feels a bit like the opening of 2001 with a tiny bit of Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain and a tiny bit of Benjamin Button. But at the same time, it is nothing like those. I really admire that this film got made considering who’s involved. Plus, it’s a f–king art film with CGI dinosaurs(!) I found it so audacious.

It’s structure is also very unique. Near the start, it beautifully transitions into the beginning of time space scenes, dinosaurs, animals evolving into the animals we are today and perfectly weaves back into the story with Brad pitt and family. These scenes play out in a strangely jarring way which felt slightly hypnotic to me. as I said, it’s more tone poem than straight forward narrative so it felt as if I was watching a collection of memories and/or small moments in their lives. Unfortunately, This also was a downside for me. It was as if I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. There was a distance there. While im focusing on what I found problematic, I will say that the whispering multi narrators got a little tiresome after a while, crossing into self parody for Malick. What they say and how they say it will be a part of where the polarizing views will happen. Some will see that part as self important hogwash. My last problem is that of Sean Penn’s character. He isn’t in it as much as one would expect and hardly has a line of dialogue. He just vacantly stares while reflecting on his past with his father.

Maybe im missing a larger point here but I found the movie as a whole to be impenetrable in what exactly it’s trying to say. And is 2.5 hours too much of an indulgence a director can give themselves to say it?

It is certainly something that I have been processing over the last couple nights and it has gotten better in my head, it’s so unique that it thrown me off in having a clear opinion of it. I take that as a good sign. I can’t wait to see it again.

I’m a fan of Malicks other work, including The New World. What separates this one from that and his other works is the way the story is told. I’d say this is by far his most unconventional as far as story telling goes. It’s heavily symbolic, fair few religious symbols too.

Brad Pitt is excellent in it. But it’s not a full-bodied lead performance worthy of an Oscar. It’s more of a supporting Role to Sean Penn’s character as a younger boy.

It didn’t go where my expectations wanted it to go so that gets in the way. And trying to process this thing after only one viewing doesn’t help. I was left slightly cold by how minimal it is in terms of narrative. It slightly sags about 3/4’s in as well. Why it’s difficult to review is because it’s certainly a movie that’s more about the experience of seeing it. I was expecting to be emotionally overwhelmed, and to be honest I wasn’t. But im hoping that it might be like the first time I saw L’Avventura. I was completely unsure of what to make of it but it has since grown to be one of my favorite films.

It’s not preachy but there’s a clear religious subtext. I’m not religious and I wasn’t offended by it so neither should you. There’s mention of God, there’s obvious religious symbols throughout like one “walking on water” shot.

All the nature, universe, geology, etc stuff is peppered throughout the entire thing but the main space sequence near the beginning of it goes for about 20 minutes. It’s gorgeous. There’s sequences of life forming, in dna spirals etc. It looks amazing but I couldn’t also help thinking about whether or not I should be cringing here. Malick treads a fine line. Any time a films comes off as trying to make a grand statement as this, it borders on being self important.

The Tree of Life stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. It will hit theaters May 27th, 2011.

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