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music and entertainment » The Fountain

phi_'s avatar
15 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
Being overly angry that I didn't get to see it back in September at Fantastic Fest, I felt it my duty as a film-loving American to go see this movie the first chance I could. Last night was such a chance, and I waited in line for two hours to get into the midnight screening at a somewhat-local theatre. I'll admit, though, that "waiting in line" means one person I was with wanted to be there two hours early because--not being the cynic I am--he thought everyone and their mom would be showing up. In three words I'll sum up this pre-show event: he was wrong.

There was a grand total of maybe 20 people at this showing. The bulk of them hardcore Aronofsky "fans" ("Dude, is there hip-hop in this one? It's his thing, you know."), but a few were people with nothing better to do. I know this because of their behavior both during and after the showing. We filed in loudly, most of us dying with excitement. But no one could understand why I had been waiting 6 years for this. I hate to sound like an angst-ridden teenager writing bad poetry, but these people really didn't have a clue about this movie until the trailer came out last year. It was a damn good trailer, though, so I'm all for that. We sat through three bad trailers, plus the trailer for Pan's Labyrinth, which I saw at Fantastic Fest and whole-heartedly reccommend as the new crowning achievment of del Toro's work. Then the lights faded ...

I'll admit something else here: I was skeptical at the start of the movie. It was nothing be a series of beautiful images that the trailers used extensively. Was this it? Was this what I have been waiting six years for? Eye candy? Thankfully I was wrong, and once the story began I had regained all the faith in the film I had just so recently lost.

The story is deceptively simple. It's not about some high-level, theatre art bullshit. It's about one man doing all he possibly can to save his dying wife. It is, however, told in a variety of ways. Part one of the film(though they're all intercut throughout) is Izzi's book, called "The Fountain", in which the Conquistador Tomas (played by Jackman) is sent by the Queen (Weisz) to journey to central America and find the Tree of Life. The second story, taking place in modern times, is the bulk of the story. It's about Tom Creo (Jackman) trying to find a cure for his wife's (Weisz) brain tumor. The third part, and probably most hyped, is the "sci-fi" section. Jackman plays the Astronaut journeying with the dying Tree of Life to the dying star at the center of the nebula Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, in an attempt to revive it.

There's the skeleton of the story. That's what's in it. And you know what? It's phenomenal. It's magnificent, brilliant, and just about any other hyperbolic adjective you can apply to it.

Much in the Aronofsky style, the film starts slow and gets faster and faster, working towards a dizzying finale. Remember the end of Requiem for a Dream? That's what I'm talking about. Now, after watching Requiem for a Dream, I'm positive that the ending of The Fountain mops the floor with Requiem. Not since I watched Werckmeister Harmonies have I been so entranced after a film ended.

Fortunately and unfortunately, this is not a film everyone will get or enjoy. This is not one I will reccommend to everyone on the street. This is a film for people who like film, not movies or "flicks". If you think you love film, then have at The Fountain.

Rating (-4 to +4): +4.
 
15 years ago
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dynek
I panic when there are too many people around
I don't know if I like film the way you do but I liked how you described it and I'll prolly give it a chance if it gets here.

Nice "review" !
andyp's avatar
15 years ago
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andyp
nothing is wrong - what are you scared of?
call me stupid or whatever but I did not understand this one by the time it was done. It is probably a movie i need to see once more to understand it better. I enjoyed it, but I didnt really get the connection between the book and the modern time/sci fi sections. The lighting and eye candy was breathtaking as usual with films these days.

care to explain a little bit about the connections between the three stories?
phi_'s avatar
15 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
The Conquistador story: This was Izzi's novel. It's about the Queen of Spain on the verge of death by the Inquisition for heresy, so she sends out the most loyal subject--Jackman playing Tomas--to track down the Tree of Life so they may live forever.

Modern day: The true story of the film. Tommy--Jackman--is obsessive about finding a cure for Izzi's brain tumors. Here, the search is the same as before, just medically based.

The future story: Here's one that I'm torn on. On the one hand, it could be the last chapter in Izzi's book as written by Tommy after his wife's death, and it's all metaphorical. This is the most likely answer, but I prefer to think it's a literal ending where Tommy actually finds the Tree of Life and spends thousands upon thousands(look at the tattoos on his arms--like rings on a tree) of years trying to come to grips with losing his wife.

I've only seen it twice, so maybe I'll figure something better out upon later viewings. After all, I did tell Aronofsky I would see it 8 times in theatres and I'll be damned if I'll let him down. :)
phi_'s avatar
15 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
Oh, and when Aronofsky was asked about the title of the film being "The Fountain" but it being about a Tree, he responded, "What is a tree but a fountain in slow motion?"

Not much, but adds to the story a little bit. Thought y'all would like to know...
andyp's avatar
15 years ago
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andyp
nothing is wrong - what are you scared of?
yeah i think that you have it right, i just do not get the connection between the conquistador and future story. the whole ending part with the guy guarding the tree in the old story, did tommy write that part, and did that ultimatly end up shaping how he would finally get to xibalba? I definatly need to see this again and pay more attention to the ending where shit starts to go down :P

that is a very interesting comparison, but it really does make sense (what is a tree but a fountain in slow motion?) it makes me happy :)
phi_'s avatar
15 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
Whether or not Tommy is guarding the tree is literal or the last chapter of Izzi's novel is up to the viewer. I believe it's the latter, but the former is so much more poignant and magical that it's the one I want to believe in.
 
15 years ago
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dru
The Art of Subconscious Illusion
That was a pretty amazing movie.
phi_'s avatar
15 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
Seein' it again tonight because I didn't get to last night...
asemisldkfj's avatar
15 years ago
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asemisldkfj
the law is no protection
I want to see this.
lucas's avatar
15 years ago
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lucas
i ❤ demo
i went to the fountain tonight. during the first scene, i thought i was going to hate it. but after some of the more realistic scenes, i was liking it. but at the end, i was still slightly skeptical. i just don't like some of the sci-fi-ish stuff. but it was pretty damn good, all things considered.
phi_'s avatar
15 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that no matter how much I want the Space segment to be real, it isn't. It's all metaphorical and may not even be the true ending to Izzi's novel.

When Jackman buries the seed on Izzi's grave (so she may live forever as Jackman did in the Conquistador section) you see the nova of Xibalba behind him. Why I never connected the two before, I don't know. The Space segment concludes with the nova, when Jackman finally accepts death for what it is, which is simultaneously the same time he accepts in the Present segment.

Wow, that's poorly written. But hopefully it makes some form of sense.
 
15 years ago
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Bachalon
That hurt more than I would have expected.
Naw, dude. I know what you mean. Ryan brought up an interesting point: the first story we see is the Conquistador's segment. You'll have to ask him about when you see him tonight.

I still love how much more poetic a literal reading of the "future" portion is.
dannyp's avatar
15 years ago
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dannyp
dʎuuɐp
I was sort of prepaired for Jackman to suck.. I mean come on, Logan? Van Helsing?

:\

It was a shocker, he did an exemplary job. Aside from the acting, well if you've seen it you should probably know of it's quality. If you haven't, just to give you a bit of an impression; it's been the most amazing movie I have ever seen in a theater. Actually paying for that movie made up for every other movie I paid for in a theater. I honestly don't feel like I'm exaggerating.

Here's a bit of my interpretation of the film, it's so rich and it can be taken and cherished in so many ways. It's also not a film to 'get'. This film has a few requirements of the viewer and I think patience is one of them. Involving yourself in the film and desiring to understand, having a curious nature without being told explicitally also seems to be important. I sat with at least one impatient person, who was waiting for the film to come to a point or for it to tell them explicitally the cut and dry about it all. If you're this type of person I don't think it will be very enjoyable.

The part that was a bit difficult for me to deal with was Tommy's dense nature. This struggle was part of what the movie was about though, and ignorance I think. What he was dense about and the representation of his ignorance was rooted in his quest for immortality. He was distracted by material things and futile paths for achievement of his quest to avoid dying. Izzy always had the most sincere answer for him, and it was rather blatant that he was not sensitive to the idea of the answer. He was perpetually apart from it.

In Izzy's book, the story told was allegorical. Most of the time the present is literal but elusive, and it seems Tommy is most evidently stubborn here. The future is a metaphor. It's hard to talk about the segments as in what they represent wholly. I feel that those are good descriptions of what's going on. I think that the past shows the heavy ties to very timeless mythology, you can see the persistence of the tree of life with the book of Genesis and the Mayan myth about Xibalba, which is an entirely perfect fit, and of course others.

Now reading more about Xibalba the idea about the myth makes even more sense in the overall scheme of the movie. The beauty that relates the fear of this dark underworld of death is underscored and foreshadowed by the literal sense that Izzy is showing Tommy the nebula she described as Xibalba innocently and he doesn't understand. It's very much what she does in a very real and literal sense later on in the present too, she unveils to him that death is approaching her and he is frantic to avoid it. He searches for the material answer by the primary means available to him in this age: science. In the past he is on the quest to find the tree of life for the queen, and it is driven by his brute force, honor, and the religion of the time Catholicism and the Biblical texts.

The future is metaphorical, and seems very much like Buddhism. There are plenty of things going on here, for one the concept of Enlightenment. Approaching the understanding is the primary quest in this age. Pure consciousness of being, the identification with knowing and oneness with Samsara. this is also represented in the present age where Izzy refers to the story she tells Tommy while in bed at the hospital. Again at the end during the present age where he knows what to do, and understands the meaning of his actions. More about the future though, it would seem like this state is representative of meditation simply or Astral Projection specifically. Also interesting to note is this idea of transcendence, that really mimics the film.

Akashic Records - While accessing the Akashic Records, both the events and responses are said to be perceived. This is analogous to having a meta-enhanced cinematic experience. When accessing the future, the events are known, but the responses are only probable. Based on an individual's responses in the past, the Akashic seer/reader can investigate probable future responses and give the highest future probability. A simple illustration of this might be witnessing several alternate endings to the main characters in a movie (e.g., Run, Lola, Run). At some point in the evolution of the Akashic reader, however, a state of unification and awareness can be achieved whereby even the future responses are known with absolute clarity instead of only as a probability.



Here's another example of the mythology that is represented in the future age, about the space vessel. It is from Scandanavian mythology.

I think I've gone long enough for one sitting but I have put off posting this stuff about this very moving, and deep piece of art.
Étrangère's avatar
11 years ago
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Étrangère
I am not a robot...
woh, awesome thread discovery
Carpetsmoker's avatar
11 years ago
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Carpetsmoker
Martin
Good movie, good music too.
asemisldkfj's avatar
11 years ago
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asemisldkfj
the law is no protection
I just downloaded this. totally forgot about it.
phi_'s avatar
11 years ago
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phi_
... and let the Earth be silent after ye.
I downloaded it in 1080p a few months ago ... looks even better than I remember it looking in theatres. Totally worth the 8GB file size.
Étrangère's avatar
11 years ago
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Étrangère
I am not a robot...
:)
Étrangère's avatar
11 years ago
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Étrangère
I am not a robot...
I always get goosebumps when he touches the tree.