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Brad Pitt, Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” booed in Cannes

Photograph: Stephane Cardinale/People Avenue/Corbis

By Sean O’Connell

Hollywoodnews.com: Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” one of the most anticipated films of the Cannes festival (if not of the entire year), finally screened for critics in France this morning and the reaction has been … well, mixed.

“Scattered audience members at its first screening in Cannes needed only one syllable: boo,” Anthony Breznican writes in EW.com. “The many supporters of the movie pushed back with counter-applause, but it was a shocking way for the movie to debut.”

Why shocking? Malick’s film has been set up to fail by uber-passionate bloggers like Jeff Wells, who practically demanded the film be excellent, sight unseen. How could anything but an instant masterpiece be deemed a success?

Maybe it’s not as bad as the boos make it seem.

Justin Chang references Stanley Kubrick’s “2001” in Variety as he writes that “Tree” is “something extraordinary,” and that the result “is pure-grade art cinema
destined primarily for the delectation of Malick partisans and
adventurous arthouse-goers, but with its cast names and
see-it-to-believe-it stature, this inescapably divisive picture could captivate the zeitgeist for a spell.

Malick’s
films divide audiences. Why would “Tree” be any different. Thankfully,
you’ll be able to decide for yourself if his rumination on life an
creation is art or navel gazing. “Tree of Life” opens everywhere on May
27.

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