The Fountain by Aronofsky

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The Fountain by Aronofsky

Postby howardschumann(d) » Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:49 pm

Seen at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF)

Directed by Darren Aronofsky (2006)

Death is a creative act and, as part of the process of rebirth, it is to be embraced, not feared. This is the message of The Fountain, a dazzling visual extravaganza that spans thousands of years in the relationship between Thomas (Hugh Jackman) and his dying wife Izzy (Rachel Weisz). According to the director, Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem For a dream), it is a love story is about a man whose wife is dying. While trying to save her life, he stumbles upon the fountain of youth and "has to decide how that affects his own life and his own death." The film is about love and human emotion, but does not shrink from confronting the big questions - the nature of death, the search for enlightenment, and whether our true essence is human or divine. It has an epic feeling, a 2001 for the 21st century.

The story takes place in three overlapping time frames. It begins in 16th century Spain where Tomas is a conquistador who is serving Queen Isabella. She is being threatened by the Inquisition for her belief that the Tree of Life has been found in New Spain and is being guarded by the Mayans. She sends Tomas to find the tree, promising to be his wife if he succeeds in finding the tree whose sap brings eternal life. Tommy Creo is also a present day research doctor who is experimenting on a monkey, using the bark of a South American tree to desperately try to find a cure for his wife's brain tumor. In the third sequence, Tom is a 25th century astronaut grieving over the death of his wife.

He is traveling in a space bubble as he transports the dying Tree of Life to a distant galaxy that the Mayans identified as the home of the dead awaiting reincarnation. While the film is compelling on many different levels, its heart is the intimate relationship between husband and dying wife and both Jackman and Weisz turn in very strong performances as the film shifts seamlessly between time periods. Put on the backburner four years ago after Brad Pitt pulled out, The Fountain is a hypnotic work of imagination and creativity that cannot really be described. It must be experienced and reflected upon and its ultimate message will be different for each viewer. For me, it is simple - life is forever, love is forever.


Re: The Fountain by Aronofsky

Postby A » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:28 am

Wow, this sounds like a totally gorgeous movie experience.
Arronofsky is simo one of the most talented american directors working, and it is too bad it took him so long to make his next film. I guess I would have still loved to see his version of "Batman Begins", but this one sounds so much better. My favorite topic - love. I'm a sucker for these kind of philosophical melodramas.

You seem to be going through my "most awaited" list Howard. I wonder which film you'll see next.

Re: The Fountain by Aronofsky

Postby howardschumann(d) » Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:08 pm

Have you had a chance to see it as yet?

Re: The Fountain by Aronofsky

Postby A » Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:47 pm

Nope, but I'm glad to see that it has found a distributor here in Germany and will be released into theaters in January.
Give me two months, and I might be able to write something about it.

Re: The Fountain by Aronofsky

Postby wpqx » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:57 pm

Well I saw it, and unlike the reaction Howard had, I found it an uncompelling mess. Its as if the story was so thin, weak, and short that Aronofsky had to create that nonsense floating in a bubble (how you gathered he was an astronaut is completely beyond me), and all those scenes repeating, just seemed to make the film longer. I tried to get it, and enjoy it, being so fond of Aronofsky's last film, but this film is a mess. Its not weird for the sake of being weird its weird for the sake of trying to hide a bad film. Jackman hands in a strong performance for sure, but its unfortunately wasted on a sloppy film that I found no connection to.

Re: The Fountain by Aronofsky

Postby hengcs » Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:06 am

I will try to catch this ...
now showing in Singapore

Re: The Fountain by Aronofsky

Postby hengcs » Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:57 am

I didnt know to watch or not initially, because there were some who claimed it was too slow for comfort ... some even claimed it to be boring ...

But finally, I did watch ... because a source claimed that it was the Top 10 films from US for 2006 ...

My verdict ... while the beginning was not very captivating, I thought the ending was VERY visually stunning ... wow ... and the music was captivating too ... another wow ...

There were some "religious influence" (even in terms of choreography/filming) near the end (at least I thought) ... but how could you not, esp given that it is such a philosophical and rather CRYPTIC film ...
(i) ... very humbly, I thought the "pose" Hugh Jackman had in the bubble seemed to have some influence from images of "Buddha" and "Buddhism", simply look at the way he crossed his legs and more imptly, how his fingers are laid ...
(ii) ... yet, I also thought the director "borrowed" some choreography from "images of "resurrection" (i.e., "Christianity", and/or even Beauty and the Beast The Musical) ... esp. when Hugh Jackman arched his back, and got elevated into "space" ...

In sum, a film worth watching for its visuals, and to some extent, its philosophical take ... as to the mainstream audience, I am not sure if they will appreciate it ...

Re: The Fountain by Aronofsky

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:52 am

As long as The Fountain remained a love story first, and everything else second, I thought it worked -- and that lasted, well, just about the whole of the initial "12 Chapters." It was a moving and sensuous experience (the color palette was exquisite), though not necessarily an intellectual one (and there was really no need to drag in the Mayans once again). The sharp, surprisingly comprehensible screenplay and, as wpqx has mentioned, Jackman's performance were also key factors. But, unfortunately, in the final chapter the film succumbed under its own pop-theological-philosophical "weight." Having said that, Aronofsky's ambition needs to be respected. We want our filmmakers to take chances, do something out of the ordinary -- and when they do, they get clubbed over the head. That's not fair!

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