One of our most-anticipated titles screening in competition at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival is Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees. Marking the director’s first film in competition since his Paranoid Park, the drama stars Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe as, respectively, Arthur Brennan and Takumi Nakamura, two individuals seemingly lost in a forest in Japan known as the sea of trees. Brennan plans on committing suicide in the forest whereas Nakamura is geographically lost and unable to find his way out.
This first clip shows us the tail-end of one of their presumably first encounters where Brennan tries to send Nakamura on the right path out of the titular forest. This preview shows a mystical quality that can be gleaned, featuring a light, ephemeral score. The look of the forest is also exactly what is promised by the title as we see are seemingly in an unnavigable and atmospheric maze impeding Nakamura’s path out. Picked up by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions for U.S. distribution, check out the clip below, along with images.
It’s love and loss that lead Arthur Brennan, across the world to Japan’s Aokigahara, a mysterious dense forest known as The Sea of Trees lapping the foothills of Japan’s Mount Fuji – a place where people go to contemplate life and death. Arthur enters the depths of the forest and loses himself beyond the guiding ribbons threaded through the trees by many before him. Having found the perfect place to die, Arthur encounters Takumi Nakamura, a Japanese man who also appears to have lost his way. Unable to leave Takumi behind, Arthur invests all of his remaining energy into saving Takumi and returning him to safety. The two men embark on a journey of reflection and survival, which affirms Arthur’s will to live and reconnects him to his love with his wife.