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The exquisite Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist, Melancholia, I’m Not There) stars in French filmmaker Julie Bertuccelli’s achingly beautiful follow-up to her sleeper hit Since Otar Left. The Closing Night Film at Cannes in 2010, The Tree is a mystical drama of loss and rebirth in the Australian countryside. Not since classic 1970s works Picnic at Hanging Rock and Walkabout has the harshly gorgeous outback landscape been such a lyrical yet foreboding metaphor for grief and coming of age.
Blindsided with anguish after her husband’s sudden death, Dawn (Gainsbourg)—along with her four young children—struggles to make sense of life without him. Eight-year-old Simone (unforgettable newcomer Morgana Davies) becomes convinced that her father is whispering to her through the leaves of the gargantuan fig tree that towers over their house. The family is initially comforted by its presence, but then the tree’s enormous roots slowly begin to encroach on the abode and threaten their fragile existence....