Fox Searchlight Pictures announced today that it has acquired notoriously patient auteur Terrence Malick’s next feature with plans for a 2011 release. The Tree Of Life is a 1950s period piece/family drama starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. The accompanying press release sheds a lot of light on the plot considering how little information had been previously gleaned from the always tight-lipped Malick:

The Tree Of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950‚Äôs chronicling the journey of the eldest son, Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn), through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years ‚Äď trying to reconcile the complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt).¬†Jack finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.‚ÄĚ

Shot in Austin, Texas during spring of 2008, The Tree Of Life missed its initial Dec. 2009 release date by a long shot and has disappointed festival organizers by being a no-show at Cannes, Venice, Toronto, and New York. The struggles to release the film were no doubt compounded by the downfall of Apparition Films, the indie label that was initially slated to release The Tree Of Life. On Tuesday, Apparition laid off what remains of its staff, paving the way for Fox Searchlight to swoop in a save the day. It may still be a while before we can once again bask in the luster of Malick’s film, as Fox will likely wait until at least mid-2011 to ensure Oscar consideration, but Malick fans should be used to waiting by now.

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