The Fountain

I saw The Fountain on Blu-Ray. Despite advertising that made it seem to be a gnostic film, it is not; the line used “the body is a prison for the soul” comes from the Catholic inquisitor who is an enemy of the film’s protagonists. The message of the movie is that the meaning of life is to become compost for trees, and we should feel liberated by that idea.

This shallow message is carried forward by a lot of imagery and some heavy handed editing. The main character is played by Hugh Jackman, who looks and acts as though his destiny is to play a young doctor on a daytime soap.

This is the third Darren Aronofsky film I have seem. The first, Pi, was quite good. Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain are clinkers.

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One Response to The Fountain

  1. illegalbrain says:

    I think there is more to the message than your “happy about being compost” reading. Remember, he is traveling in some kind of astral body or subconscious form throughout much of the film. He also travels as a character within a storybook, and must pass learn the key to passing the angels guarding the tree of life, to return to the garden, which appears to be some form of hatha yoga, with its direct association with kundalini and the serpent. Kind of gnostic so far.

    What he finds there is more than he expected, yes, we are tree compost (we are) but we are also characters in a story, and also astral body, the sperm returning to the womb through death… “death is the road to awe”

    The green man or disgorging foliate face symbolism is the end of the story character’s quest, the sun absorbed through the tree of life and into his body, which then dies and regenerates as new life.

    Sure, its vegetative, but I think we are left with plenty of hints that there is more beyond that as well, but it is unknown and unspeakable. So, more gnostic stuff in there?

    On another level, this is a creation myth, with Jackman as Male, Logos, Scientia and Techne, ever striving to dominate through rationality the Feminine Chaos of Tiamat, Sophia, Leviathan and Death.

    Through his pursuit of eternal life he loses the life of his wife that is before his eyes at every moment, his quest to save her the only thing keeping him from her, but is reunited as he obeys her order to finsih it, find the secret pyramid, the gate of death and pass through to the tree of death and life, bowing at the same time before the sun from which it constructs itself… well, a combination of the sun, the breath, the water and the earth, which is composed of our decomposed bodies.

    Admittedly, this is a syncretistic mish mash from hell, but then so is the film, and so is Gnosticism!

    We are left with the troubling fact of the Inquisitor’s statement, but my take is this is presented as a perverted version of the spirit/flesh duality present in most forms of gnosticism, a perverted form of religion, which it is set side by side with, and even exists within (the storybook, the creation of their own minds) another kind of duality (the “real world” (which often seems quite dreamlike), the astral world (or subconscious, or afterlife) and the storybook, which although the “earthiest” and grittiest of the three, is nonetheless perhaps most like a dream.. or a story!

    Anyway, what did you think of the newest Aronofsky myth, The Wrestler?

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