Knight of Cups

Even though we’re seeing more films from Terrence Malick (Badlands) these days, he still likes to take his sweet time with each project. We have no clue when exactly we’ll see his untitled Austin-set picture, which he shot footage for all the way back in 2011. But we Malick fans are in luck, because we’ll have something to tide us over in the meantime: Knight of Cups opens in theaters in less than two months.

After the jump, see new Knight of Cups footage and read a new synopsis.

The film stars Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley, Imogen Poots, and more. Knight of Cups premiered at last year’s Berlin Film Festival, where it was, as expected, met with a mixed response.

With this clip shared on Facebook and Twitter. It is exactly the kind of clip you expect from a Malick picture, and you get a sense of mood and character in under 20 seconds:

I can’t help but get a Tree of Life vibe from this footage, in particular the shots of Sean Penn roaming the desert. Like Penn’s character, Bale’s Hollywood screenwriter, in Knight of Cups, is living an empty life — and the character alone in the desert, with all his baggage, is a fine visual metaphor.

Despite the narration and the meditative tone and the obvious connections to Malick’s past work, Knight of Cups doesn’t look like every other Malick movie. The film is set in Los Angeles, for starters, and there is an energy in the trailer we rarely see from the director. The trailer might not be misleading, either, based on what I’ve heard from people that have seen the picture.

Here’s the new official synopsis for Knight of Cups:

Knight of Cups follows writer Rick (Christian Bale, The Fighter, American Hustle) on an odyssey through the playgrounds of Los Angeles and Las Vegas as he undertakes a search for love and self. Even as he moves through a desire-laden landscape of mansions, resorts, beaches and clubs, Rick grapples over complicated relationships with his brother (Wes Bentley) and father (Brian Dennehy). His quest to break the spell of his disenchantment takes him on a series of adventures with six alluring women: rebellious Della (Imogen Poots); his physician ex-wife, Nancy (Cate Blanchett); a serene model Helen (Freida Pinto); a woman he wronged in the past Elizabeth (Natalie Portman); a spirited, playful stripper Karen (Teresa Palmer); and an innocent Isabel (Isabel Lucas), who helps him see a way forward.

Rick moves in a daze through a strange and overwhelming dreamscape — but can he wake up to the beauty, humanity and rhythms of life around him? The deeper he searches, the more the journey becomes his destination.

The 7th film from director Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, Tree of Life), Knight of Cups (the title refers to the Tarot card depicting a romantic adventurer guided by his emotions) offers both a vision of modern life and an intensely personal experience of memory, family, and love. Knight of Cups is produced by Nicolas Gonda, Sarah Green and Ken Kao. Prominent crew includes cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, Birdman), production designer Jack Fisk, costume designer Jacqueline West, and composer Hanan Townshend (To The Wonder). The film’s ensemble cast also includes Antonio Banderas, Cherry Jones and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

Knight of Cups opens in theaters March 4th.

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