The long wait to see Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" is finally coming to an end.

The acclaimed auteur's first film since 2005's disappointing "The New World," "The Tree of Life" has teased cinefiles for the past 18 months over when it would finally hit the screen.  Malick has edited it for some time, but also got caught in the dissolution of his producer's distribution company Apparition which delayed its release.  Fox Searchlight came on eventually and now the film will debut at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival on Monday before opening in limited release May 27.

The picture stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain (soon to be seen in "The Debt" and "Take Shelter"), but the plot has remained something of a mystery.  That is mostly because Malick's films are ever evolving and don't follow conventional narrative structures.  However, "Life" recent official studio synopsis seems to give some light on the film's subject matter.

"The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life."

Perfectly timed to the film's debut, Searchlight has released two preview clips from the film.  In the first clip, Pitt tries to get his two young sons to learn how to fight.  His character seems frustrated by their lack of enthusiasm.  In the second preview, the two boys discover their father is gone for awhile on a trip and have fun with their mother (Chastain) racing around their home.

You can watch the clips embedded in this post.  Look for reaction on this high profile picture from both HitFix's Drew McWeeny direct from Cannes and myself on Monday.