We’re just a few weeks away from the May 27 release of The Tree of Life, the new drama from director Terrence Malick (Badlands), starring Sean Penn as a man struggling to understand the meaning of life and his complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). But aside from that simple synopsis — and some confounding, cosmic vignettes provided by the movie’s official trailer and website — the project has been shrouded in secrecy.

Today, we get another small peek behind the curtain courtesy of a new clip of the film (below), given exclusively to EW. In it, a trio of brothers (one of whom is presumably the younger version of Sean Penn’s character) torment their mother (Jessica Chastain) with some kind of small lizard — a salamander? — while their father (Brad Pitt) is away. The footage has a dreamy, remembered quality to it thanks to fluid camera movements, soft light, and jump cuts. It’s beautiful, no doubt. But what does it mean? Is it simply setting up an idyllic childhood for Penn’s character? What kind of “trip” could Pitt’s character be on? And could the lizard have a connection to the dinosaurs (yup, dinosaurs) seen in some of the movie’s promotional materials? Check out the clip, and then leave your theories after the jump!

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The Tree of Life
  • Movie
  • 138 minutes