Desplat Gives Additional Details On Malick’s ‘Tree of Life’


For all intents and purposes, the headline above is not a lie, but said “details” aren’t as alarming and plot producing as you may like as The Playlist alerts us to a clip from Movie City Indie in which composer Alexandre Desplat talks about working with Terrence Malick and his new film Tree of Life.

To this point the following is what we have for a synopsis:

Our picture is a cosmic epic, a hymn to life.

We trace the evolution of an eleven-year-old boy in the Midwest, Jack, one of three brothers. At first all seems marvelous to the child. He sees as his mother (Jessica Chastain) does, with the eyes of his soul. She represents the way of love and mercy, where the father (Brad Pitt) tries to teach his son the world’s way, of putting oneself first. Each parent contends for his allegiance, and Jack must reconcile their claims. The picture darkens as he has his first glimpses of sickness, suffering and death. The world, once a thing of glory, becomes a labyrinth.

Framing this story is that of adult Jack (Sean Penn), a lost soul in a modern world, seeking to discover amid the changing scenes of time that which does not change: the eternal scheme of which we are a part. When he sees all that has gone into our world’s preparation, each thing appears a miracle — precious, incomparable. Jack, with his new understanding, is able to forgive his father and take his first steps on the path of life.

The story ends in hope, acknowledging the beauty and joy in all things, in the everyday and above all in the family — our first school — the only place that most of us learn the truth about the world and ourselves, or discover life’s single most important lesson, of unselfish love.

Chastain and Pitt in Tree of Life

Speaking further on the story, Desplat is quoted saying:

“It’s a deep story about love, how you transmit love, through your family; from the parents to the children. And the evolution of mankind… since the creation. Heavy things, but with everyday life things. That’s one of the great ideas that Terrence has been working on. We see a family in the ’50s in Texas in their everyday lives, but there’s more, of course, connections to the big picture.”

The Playlist also mentions the curious IMAX documentary Malick shot with Pitt narrating, Voyage of Time, which apparently delves into the prehistoric and is the reason for here.

For the technical gurus out there, Voyage of Time was shot in IMAX 70mm while Tree of Life made use of both 35mm and the digital RED One camera, with the present day sequences shot with the RED and the past sequences shot in 35.

The Playlist speculates whether or not the film will be ready for a Cannes 2010 debut after talk of a potential December 2009 release were abandoned after people got excited when Apparition picked it up. We’ll have to wait and see.

The Desplat clip is featured above.