After the sudden loss of her father, 8-year-old Simone shares a secret with her mother Dawn: her father whispers to her through the leaves of the magnificient tree by their house. Simone is convinced that he’s come back to protect her family. Soon, Simone’s three brothers and Dawn also take comfort in the reassuring tree. But the new bond between mother and daughter is threatened when Dawn starts dating George. Simone moves into the treehouse and refuses to come down. With branches infiltrating the house and roots destroying the foundations, the tree seems to be siding with Simone. Dawn refuses to let the tree take control of her family… –Cannes Film Festival
Julie Bertucelli (1968) studied philosophy and documentary. She was an assistant director to Otar Iosseliani, Krysztof Kieslowski, Bertrand Tavernier, Rithy Panh and Emmanuel Finkiel. She has made several documentaries; Since Otar Left is her first feature. —IFFR
In Boston and probably elsewhere this film is playing a few screens away from Malick's latest, and the temptation is strong to dub it The Tree of Death, but aside from being a silly thing to do, conferring that nickname would imply a power and grandeur that The Tree fails to evince. Despite its very pretty surfaces, and its strivings after the uncannily profound, The Tree settles finally for the banal and maudlin.