There’s something deflating about a Cannes Film Festival competition entry being offered as an Amazon DVD/Bluray pre-buy (with a French release date of 7.15) two weeks before its world premiere at Cannes. This obviously undercuts that elite hooplah, special-moment-in-time atmosphere that always accompanies a Cote d’Azur premiere.

Face it — Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life is feeling more and more like damaged goods, especially when you add the back-and-forth about Icon wanting to open Malick’s film in England on May 4th (now over and done with) plus the bothersome buzz about the film that’s been circulating for a year now.

There’s one upside: the pre-devaluation of The Tree of Life all but guarantees that we’ll be seeing a very impassioned celebration of this film by a certain coterie of Cannes critics. And I may be one of them…who knows?

The French DVD/Bluray will arrive just about two months after its 5.17 theatrical release. We’ve all been discussing the impact of 60-day VOD releases. If you were a Parisian film buff, how excited would you be about paying to see The Tree of LIfe in a pricey theatre on 5.17.11 when you know it’ll be on Bluray only eight weeks hence?

This film is not being treated with respect. It feels pre-trashed. Theatrical exhibs and DVD/Bluray distributors seem to be united in regarding Malick’s film as a loss-leader.

Here’s an IMDB undown of int’l Tree of Life openings.