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Aronofsky's 'The Fountain'

I have been a fan of Darren Aronofsky ever since I saw his strange exploration of obsessive numerology in the cult sleeper 'Pi'. I also enjoyed his ode to addiction, 'Requiem for a Dream', which was no less alluring and disturbing, and put the scope of what you can get away with in drug-influenced movies way over the top. And now there is 'The Fountain' (now available on DVD) a visually stunning movie that jumps back in forth between the Spanish conquest of the new world, modern day bio-chem research, and what can only be described as a floating bubble in space near the end of time. At the center of this disjointed epic is the fabled "Tree of Life", also known as the fountain of youth, that mythological gateway to immortality.

Although 'The Fountain' is a little slow and in some parts downright boring (do we really need to see the same segments shown over and over? Do we really care about the timeless romance between Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weiss? No.), the imagery that comes out of this film is some of the most psychedelic I have seen in a long time. But it is not psychedelic in the way that 'Renegade' or 'Fear and Loathing' is, with scenes of gratuitous trippiness layered on freak-outs and hallucinatory glee. Instead, 'The Fountain' is psychedelic in the sense that it captures the essence of that most personal of psychedelic trips: The Spirit Journey through time and space.

Although I cannot claim to fully understand what is going on in the movie, it revolves around the tree of life, a distant dying star, Mayan mythology, and a complex macro-molecule that cures the 'disease of death'. Hugh Jackman's character is bound through time to this 'fountain' of eternal life in various forms, and his trippiest incarnation is as an eternal Bodhisattva traveling with the Tree of Life in that timeless space bubble I mentioned earlier. Although the clip below (mixed to Sigor Ros) gives away the ending of the movie, since the movie doesn't make a whole lot of sense to begin with it shouldn't matter too much. Enjoy the trippy visuals, they are one of a kind.

Posted By jamesk at 2007-08-13 17:38:43 permalink | comments
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Daturaseed. : 2011-08-30 22:12:46
yes it is a datura seed. when the dood gets eaten alive by plants they are a type of datura ... i dont need to tell you. google datura
bevz : 2007-08-15 01:01:43
I recommend watching at least the "The Future" segment of the making-of special feature - they show how they did the background visuals for the space-bubble sequences. Macro photography and fluid dynamics in petri dishes - very cool. No CGI at all.

Oh, and I am also in the "didn't really get it all but liked it" school. Our takeaway of the overall meaning was "death as rebirth."

aeonsbeyond : 2007-08-14 14:45:09
The Fountain is a direct take from the mayan sacred book the Popul Vuh.

Pertinent details:

omgoleus : 2007-08-13 21:02:56
I second that this movie is really good, and I second that it's all about coming to terms with death.

I first heard about this movie one night at 3 AM, passed out drunk after coming home from a good party. My cell phone rang, it was an old friend calling to say he had just seen this movie and it freaked him out. I said I was sleeping and hung up. After my attenuated synapses registered that a friend just called at 3 AM to say he was freaked out, I woke myself up a bit more and called back... I went to see it myself shortly after that.

It's worth looking this movie up on Wikipedia for the story of the shit they went through trying to get it made. Fascinating!

amazingdrx : 2007-08-13 20:43:04
I can claim to have a full understanding of the film, having watched it 10,000 or so times while being injected with enormous intravenous does of DMT. Woooheee that's some good tripping!

Sorry, where was I?

Ah, that's right. The Fountain. It's all about coming to terms with the natural limit of everything. Everything ends. Stars die. Trees die. Men and women die. And you can rage against the dying of the light - like that drunken Welshman, Dylan Thomas - or you can get off your ass, plant a tree, and realize that even as you die, life survives.

It's no more complicated than that, really.

jamesk : 2007-08-13 17:49:06
BTW, the seedpod that Jackman plants at the end of this film looks a lot like it came from a Datura plant. No?

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