Waiting for Terrence: Everyone Wants to Know -- Is Malick Here?

Despite what you may be thinking, the most elusive and sought-after figure on the Croisette hasn't been Johnny Depp. Here at Cannes, where film-geekery runs high, everyone is wondering: Will the notoriously reclusive Terrence Malick emerge from the shadows for a personal appearance? He's become the "Where's Waldo?" of the festival.

Tree of Life screens for critics Monday morning, and although Malick is something of a cult figure among critics, he's not universally beloved. Some of the critics I chatted with today expressed doubts and reservations, even though almost everyone (myself included, and I'm not a Malick fan) is looking forward to seeing the film. Even I'll admit: The trailer looks gorgeous, though Malick's brand of beauty has burned me just about every time. I should love Malick: His movies are gorgeous-looking, he has an old-fashioned sense of craftsmanship, and even though his pictures are slow-moving, there are plenty of tortoise-style filmmakers -- Hou Hsiao-hsien, for one -- that I love madly.

What kills the deal for me is Malick's preference for natural scenery -- gently waving grass, sunlight peeking through leafy greenery -- over human characters, and actors. Whether I respond to Tree of Life or not -- and who knows? I may -- I'll have more to say about that tomorrow, and probably more yet when the movie opens in the United States on May 27.

Meanwhile, if I happen to see the man himself, strolling along the Croisette or eating a croissant, I'll be sure to let you know.

Read more of Stephanie Zacharek's coverage of Cannes 2011 here.


  • Remy says:

    I'm a major admirer of Malick's, so even if the reviews aren't good I'll still be very excited. Out of all the movies being shown at Cannes this year, this is the one I'm most curious about.

  • j'accuse! says:

    We are of one mind on this.