Director Gus Van Sant’s has had great experiences at the at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the Palme d’Or in 2003 for his drama “Elephant,” and not so great experiences — 2011’s “Restless” was not so warmly received. He’s been on the Croisette several times, and he’ll be In Competition once again for his upcoming film, “Sea Of Trees.” But which Van Sant will show up? The filmmaker obviously vacillates from the commercial (“Milk”) to the more esoteric and introspective (his entire “Gerry” through “Paranoid Park” run, which went from 2002 to 2007 and includes four films, so it’ll be interesting to see what flavor we get here).
Well, despite the starry cast of Mathew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe (“Inception”), and Naomi Watts, it sounds like the artier Van Sant will appear at Cannes. “Sea Of Trees” sounds like more of an existentialist, minimalist effort, and it follows two strangers who meet at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji and embark on a journey of reflection and survival. Here’s the official synopsis:
Arthur Brennan (McConaughey) treks into Aokigahara, known as the Sea of Trees, a mysterious dense forest at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji where people go to contemplate life and death. Having found the perfect place to die, Arthur encounters Takumi Nakamura (Watanabe), a Japanese man who has also lost his way. The two men begin a journey of reflection and survival, which affirms Arthur’s will to live and reconnects him to his love with his wife (Watts).
READ MORE: First Look: Matthew McConaughey And Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’
Interestingly enough, the script is written by Chris Sparling, known for single setting efforts such as “Buried” and the more unfortunate “ATM.” Also of note is director of photography, Kasper Tuxen, who’s done some fantastic natural-light work in recent films like “Beginners,” “Hateship Loveship,” and “The Wait.”
“Sea Of Trees” hits Cannes soon. Check out some new photos below.