At the Venice Film Festival, as Javier Bardem’s character (a priest), appeared, the audience started to laugh, although he was not a comical character. In the same way, the audience laughed at scenes featuring the Italian actress Romina Mondello (who spoke phrases like “I am my own experiment”). Terrence Malick’s film’s Venice premiere was classified as a “little fiasco” by Toni Garcia and the film was met with both boos and cheers.
The film’s MPAA rating listing revealed its title to be To the Wonder. After a world premiere on the 2nd of September as part of the official selection of the 69th Venice Film Festival, the film will screen at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. The film will be released by Magnolia Pictures in April 2013.
“To the Wonder” is a romantic drama centered on an American man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart. The film was announced in February 2010, and was set to star Christian Bale. Bale ultimately dropped out of the production and was replaced by Ben Affleck.
When the film entered production it did not have a title, and was referred to by the crew as Project D. Filming took place primarily in Bartlesville and Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and began in September 2010. Additional shooting took place in early 2011 in Bartlesville and Paris, France. Malick and his crew adopted an experimental approach.
Actors described working without a screenplay or the use of lights. Emmanuel Lubezki called the film ‘abstract’ and described it as being less tied to theatrical conventions and more purely cinematic than any prior film directed by Malick.
About the Story
Neil (Ben Affleck) is an American traveling in Europe who meets and falls in love with Marina (Olga Kurylenko), an Ukrainian divorcee who is raising her 10-year-old daughter Tatiana in Paris. The lovers travel to Mont St. Michel, the island abbey off the coast of Normandy, basking in the wonder of their newfound romance. Neil makes a commitment to Marina, inviting her to relocate to his native Oklahoma with Tatiana. He takes a job as an environmental inspector and Marina settles into her new life in America with passion and vigor. After a holding pattern, their relationship cools.
Marina finds solace in the company of another exile, the Catholic priest Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), who is undergoing a crisis of faith. Work pressures and increasing doubt pull Neil further apart from Marina, who returns to France with Tatiana when her visa expires. Neil reconnects with Jane (Rachel McAdams), an old flame. They fall in love until Neil learns that Marina has fallen on hard times. Gripped by a sense of responsibility — and his own crisis of faith — he rekindles with Marina after another trip to France. She returns with him to Oklahoma, resuming her American life. But the old sorrows eventually return.
Related Link: View the Full Production Notes for To the Wonder