ⓘ The Tree (2010 film)


ⓘ The Tree (2010 film)

The Tree is a French-Australian 2010 film co-produced between Australia and France. It was filmed in the small town of Boonah in Queensland, Australia and follows the lives of Dawn and her four children after the unexpected death of her husband Peter. The film is an adaptation of the debut novel Our Father Who Art in the Tree by Australian writer and performer Judy Pascoe. The film closed the Cannes Film Festival on 23 May 2010 following the Awards Ceremony and received a seven-minute standing ovation. In addition, The Tree premiered at the 2010 Sydney Film Festival. The film is distributed in the US by Zeitgeist Films, opening on 15 July 2011 in New York, on 22 July in Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, D.C., and throughout the country over the summer.


1. Plot

Dawn and Peter ONeil live together with their children three boys and a girl, on the outskirts of a small country town. Next to their rambling house stands the kids favourite playground: a giant Moreton Bay Fig tree now known in real-life as the Teviotville Tree, whose branches reach high towards the sky and roots stretch far into the ground.

Everything seems perfect until Peter suffers a heart attack, crashing his car into the trees trunk. Dawn is devastated, left alone with her grief and four children to raise. Until one day, 8-year-old Simone, reveals a secret to her mother. Shes convinced her father whispers to her through the leaves of the tree and hes come back to protect them. Dawn takes comfort from Simones imagination, and starts to believe in it herself; just like Simone, Dawn also likes to spend time in the tree. It starts to dominate their physical and emotional landscape. But the close bond between mother and Simone forged through a mutual sorrow and shared secret, is threatened by the arrival of George, the plumber, called in to remove the trees troublesome roots. As the relationship between Dawn and George blossoms, the tree continues to grow, with its branches infiltrating the house, its roots destroy the foundations. Dawn decides the tree has to go. George and some other workmen arrive, but Simone climbs in the tree to defend it. Dawn and George try to convince her, but she refuses to come down. George argues to Dawn that the girl is only 8 years old, Dawn should not allow her to stop the necessary removal of the tree. This irritates Dawn, and she cancels the operation, and tells George she does not want to see him again.

In a big storm the house is demolished by the tree, and the family leaves the area, planning to start living somewhere else, perhaps in a tent.


2. Cast

  • Gillian Jones as Vonnie
  • Tom Russell as Lou
  • Aden Young as Peter
  • Marton Csokas as George
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg as Dawn
  • Christian Byers as Tim
  • Penne Hackforth-Jones as Mrs Johnson
  • Gabriel Gotting as Charlie
  • Morgana Davies as Simone

3. Production

The Tree was written and directed by Julie Bertuccelli, it is based on the screenplay by Elizabeth J Mars, produced by Sue Taylor of Taylor Media, Yael Fogiel and Laetitia Gonzalez of Les Films du Poisson, and is a co-production between Australia and France. It came to be a co-production when Julie Bertuccelli was given the book Our Father Who Art in the Tree by a close friend. When she looked into getting the rights for the film she found that Australian producer Sue Taylor already had them, however she did not have a director. It just so happened that Julie is a director, and from there the co-production was born. The tree used in the film is Teviotville Tree, located in the small town of Teviotville in the state of Queensland. It has a 34 m spread, 20 m height and 2.31 m diameter at 1 m above ground, which is the narrowest point. The tree has low branches which have not been pruned off, and when they are laden with fruit they reach the ground. It is very rare to find this in a Moreton Bay Fig tree. It is estimated that it was planted in 1880.


4. Soundtrack

Original film music was written and composed by Gregoire Hetzel. The soundtrack features other songs of the film:

  • "Daydream" Extra Track – Gregoire Hetzel 8:45
  • "Wounded Tree" – Gregoire Hetzel 3:13
  • "Wake" – Gregoire Hetzel 2:58
  • "The Roots" – Gregoire Hetzel 3:27
  • "The Tree" – Main Theme – Gregoire Hetzel 3:55
  • "Weak" – Asaf Avidan & The Mojos 3:34
  • "Simones Theme" – Gregoire Hetzel 3:18
  • Chorus of "Die Kriegsknechte aber" from "The Passion according to St. John" – Scholars Baroque Ensemble 1:26
  • "Speak to Me" – Gregoire Hetzel 2:55
  • "Shiver Shiver" – The Slippers 3:48
  • "Under the Branches" – Gregoire Hetzel 3:55
  • "Flying Foxes" – The Slippers 2:47
  • "To Build a Home" – The Cinematic Orchestra 6:12