Might 'The Tree of Life' Sprout at Fantastic Fest?

Malick's latest sprouts rumors, including Austin premiere

Once we learned that Brad Pitt would be coming to town (or, more accurately, Smithville, which is close enough to Austin when it comes to basking in celebrity auras) to film Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, everyone wondered about the plot, which Malick, in usual fashion, played very close to the vest.

Details were slight,with only hints emerging about things like the cycle of life and a creation sequence with dinosaurs. Well, filming wrapped up in quite a while ago, and the meticulous Malick has been tinkering with it ever since. Along the way, the film has missed submission deadlines for the major fall film festivals (Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York Film Festival, to name a few – although any festival would, I’m certain, jump at the chance to make last-minute accommodations for a screening). These days, the primary question asked about The Tree of Life has become: When will it open? And, also, is a previously announced 2010 release still in the works?

Speculation was further fueled when Todd McCarthy, the former Variety film critic who was foolishly dismissed in a cost-cutting move and is now a member of the NYFF selection committee wrote on his IndieWire blog of his suspicions that The Tree of Life was not going to be released until 2011 and was holding off for a May premiere in Cannes. (It was met by the sound of a 1,000 year-end Top 10 lists pre-emptively shifting.) Then Anne Thompson persuasively argued on her IndieWire blog that the film would be released by the end of the year. Now, via 24fpssean at Home Theater Forum (to which I was pointed by Beaks at Ain’t It Cool News), comes the assertion that The Tree of Life will be released in October. The statement is contained in a community discussion about the Sept. 28th Criterion release of The Thin Red Line. 24fpssean, who has seen The Tree of Life, also speculates that the three-hour film might be released in the fashion of The New World, with Malick’s original cut presented for awards consideration followed by an edited, slightly shorter version for general theatrical distribution. However, the most intriguing speculation comes from Beaks when he argues for a premiere at the Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest later in September. It sounds like odd couples, I know. But don’t forget that Fantastic Fest hosted the world premiere of There Will Be Blood back in 2007, and that Malick is, in fact, Austin-based. Also, we know that Fantastic Fest still has a major surprise or two left to announce, and wonder if correspondents for Ain’t It Cool News, the website run by Fantastic Fest co-founder and programmer Harry Knowles, might know anything the rest of us don’t on the subject. Then, too, there’s all that dinosaur stuff we hear about The Tree of Life. Seems like a better fit all the time.

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Fantastic Fest 2010, The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick, Fantastic Fest

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