The must-see Pitt movie you can't watch in Britain

The film The Tree of Life, starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, is set to be one of the most high-profile screenings at next month's Cannes Festival. However, British audiences may have to wait somewhat longer to see the movie, after its UK distributor said it had scrapped its planned release date.

The film was originally due to open in Britain on 4 May but a legal row between Icon Film Distribution and the international sales agent for the film, Los Angeles-based Summit Entertainment, led to Icon stating that it currently had no plans to release the movie in this country.

"Things have changed in the past few hours," a spokesman for Icon said. "We now won't be releasing The Tree of Life on 4 May and currently have no release plans for the film. All enquiries should be referred to Summit."

The Tree of Life is the first release in five years by the US director Terrence Malick, who made The Thin Red Line. It is described as "the tale of a Texas boy's journey from the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as a lost soul in the modern world".

The dispute emerged this month when Icon said it was releasing the film in Britain on 4 May. Summit, which hopes to premiere the movie at the Cannes Festival, which opens on 11 May, said this date was at odds with a previous agreement between the companies.

"The information regarding the 4 May release is incorrect," Summit said. "Icon Film Distribution does not have the right to distribute The Tree of Life in the UK, as it is in default of its agreement. The matter is pending before an arbitration tribunal in Los Angeles."

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