Italian Cinema Shows 'Tree of Life' Out of Order and No One Notices
This is just a fun story for those that love hearing some amusing film news from around the world. I caught on Twitter last night via @theangrymick that an Italian movie theater named Lumière apparently played Terrence Malick's new film The Tree of Life for a full week out of order, but no one really noticed. They provide a link to a translated article on an Italian news site (Corriere di Bologna) where it says that the first two reels (in projectionist speak, each reel is a 22 minute portion of the film) were swapped, but the film ran for a full week before anyone even realized what was wrong until they went to see it again at another theater.
The translation is a bit hard to understand, it refers to reels as "rollers", and some sentences make no sense. But the story begins when the theater decided to show the "original" version of The Tree of Life from Cannes in English with Italian subtitles - later comes a dubbed version and most would rather see the "original." They go on to say "[only to] discover, after a week of screenings, scenes were not exactly in the sequence designed by Malick and his editors." The first two reels were switched and even though the film starts with production logos and a biblical quote, audiences seemed to think that was just part of Malick's crazy editing.
"Those who had read something on The Tree of Life, knew that the plot was traveling from present to past and then, seeing [it in] the Lumière, did not [say] anything after. But some doubt the projectionists had come, because the logo of the distribution appeared after almost half an hour. And besides that also a quote, which is usually in the head. None of them had even seen the work (projected only to Cannes) and so they had no clear evidence to say that something was wrong. Just a feeling. Strong enough to move the logo to the top of the distribution. Apart from that small correction, the projection odd went on for a week."
So how did they figure it out? Apparently some guy first noticed it reading on Facebook. "Until someone pointed it to him: Facebook. Movie buffs that after watching the original version were then returned to see (in other [theaters]) dubbed in Italian, and [the truth was revealed]. The Lumière ran for cover (also discovering that the rollers had been marked incorrectly by the distributors), but none, however, protested the 'creative' error." What an odd story. The article claims the Lumière in Bologna, Italy also had the same issue with Malick's The Thin Red Line when they showed that in 1998, but "noticed it almost immediately." I guess it just goes to show how the very abstract, surreal nature of the storytelling and imagery in The Tree of Life is so trippy, that it can play out of sequence and some unknowing audiences won't even realize it at all.
Next time, Malick needs to visit that theater in Italy himself to make sure everything is correct, as he's going to be quite unhappy if he ever hears this news. I don't think the instructions for projectionists helped either.