Though there were spots saved at the Cannes Film Festival, in May, and the New York Film Festival, later this month, for Terrence Malick’s fifth film, The Tree of Life, the semilegendarily exacting, contemplative director doesn’t think the film—which reportedly melds visions of prehistoric earth with his memories of 50s Texas boyhood, in true Malickian whole-earth fashion—is finished. Well, now it is, maybe.
Producers have insisted that the film will hit theaters this year, and Malick has begun to work in earnest on his sixth film (which will apparently shoot in his boyhood hometown of Bartlesville, Oklahoma—a few years ago, Malick’s dear friend and collaborator Jack Fisk said that the now-56-year-old filmmaker “hasn’t yet made the projects most important to him,” but is he, now?). And somebody on the internet has seen a 3-hour rough cut of Tree of Life, and talked about in in some forum somewhere.
The poster hasn’t said how he saw it—a theater or screening room employee? affiliated with the distributor?—but claims that “Yes, it is finished,” although “there has already been talk in the news about Malick releasing it, then re-cutting it, then re-releasing it, etc.” Malick’s a private perfectionist, and he pulled The New World out of theaters to recut it, so it’s no surprise that he may still be pursuing his idea of the film. But it is, by some accounts, very close. (And probably very good.)