World Continues to Exist, ‘Tree of Life’ Takes Home the Palme d’Or
The rapture came and went this weekend without spiriting away a single soul and while Harold Camping remains unavailable for comment on this unspectacular turn of events (perhaps because he was the only person actually called to heaven), at least something akin to a holy moment occurred at the Cannes Film Festival where Terrence Malick’s spiritual drama Tree of Life walked away with the Palme d’Or. Friday I said it was the clear front-runner at the festival, but held out hope that Aki Kaursmäki’s La Havre would sneak away with the win. Many others had their doubts about Tree of Life‘s chances with an actor-heavy jury that might be dissuaded by the film’s lack of substantial acting. Others pointed to the divisive reactions the film drew from audiences, going so far as receiving boos during its initial screening. None of that mattered, of course, as Malick’s much-anticipated fifth feature film ultimately triumphed.
You couldn’t have asked for a more fitting victory especially considering the biblical aura (crazy or otherwise) surrounding this weekend. It remains equally appropriate that the banished Lars von Trier’s film Melancholia dealt with the end of the world, indicating a vote of no confidence for doomsday prognosticators from the Cannes jury who instead opted to rally behind Malick’s spiritually edifying, introspective view of the world. The actual merits of Malick’s film remain to be seen for the vast majority of us who weren’t privileged enough to be in attendance at Cannes. For us, Tree of Life opens stateside May 27th. It will be interesting to see if the film lives up to the accolades or if those who booed it during its festival screening were onto something.