Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life,” probably the most highly anticipated film at the Cannes Film Festival, held multiple, invitation-only screenings on Monday at the Grand Theatre Lumiere, the largest theater available there.
Audiences actually booed the film. (As the audiences in Cannes are notorious for doing when they are shocked, offended or simply bored to death.) It shocked Malick’s supporters so much, they gave the film a rather defensive standing ovation as the credits rolled.
Malick also skipped out on the press conference after the screening. The director is known for being extremely behind-the-scenes, a very much out-of-the spotlight artist, and one of the most highly respected American filmmakers.
The AP reports that Brad Pitt, a producer and star of the movie, “I don’t know why it’s accepted that people who make things in our business are then expected to sell them, and I don’t think that computes with him,” said Pitt, also a producer on the film. “He wants to focus on the making of it, not the real estate, selling the real estate. It is an odd thing for an artist to start something and then be salesman.” Pitt, Chastain and the film’s producers braved the press alone.
Malick has not had a film at Cannes since his seminal and iconic 1979 film “Days of Heaven,” where he garnered him the Festival’s top directing prize. “Tree of Life” is only his fifth film in a nearly forty-year career. His other films includes “Badlands” and “The Thin Red Line.”
Producer Sarah Green explained, “Mr. Malick is very shy.”