The Fountain is spellbinding!

Im impressed.

Not with the story per se. Not with its questions and pokes at the eternal cycles of birth death and everything of intangible beauty. Its been done to death in our Indian schools of thought – dvaitha, advaitha, samkhya, carvaka and such and there is no point dwelling on those points dealt with in the movie. The strong impression of oriental philosophy cannot be missed. And that is an angle better not touched; because thats where you begin to rub my ego the right way and I magically transform from a boring drone to an eloquent wise man and trust me thats not completely not boring either.

What is arresting about the movie though is the gorgeous visuals and the story thats completely open to interpretation. Bright infinite vistas of golden hue drenched in pulsating life. Its not something I have come to experience very frequently. Most of the space movies have been this infinite hopeless vacuum that can easily suck out the enthusiasm out of even me [! replace that with the most optimistic guy/gal you’ve ever met! ]… But this, this was absolutely easy on the eyes and the mind. Never has creation of matter felt so full of life and stars pulsating in golden balls of fire.

And the story so completely open to interpretation.. On one hand it looks like a story set in different time periods with the man trying desperately trying to save his loved one and seeing their imminent death. On the other hand though, the metaphors are hard to miss.

To me, it was a story about a doctor dealing with the death of his wife. The back story about the conquisdator is the character in the novel his wife is writing and the future zen astronaut is about the struggle of the man to deal with his wife’s imminent death. The withering tree and the marauding armies as metaphors to his dying wife and the engulfing cancer, the film is so chock full of idioms, Im sometimes forced to take the single route because it tires me while finding new interpretations and metaphors everytime…

Watch it if you can lay your hands on it. And me am waiting desperately to lay my hands on Pi and Requiem for a Dream.


11 thoughts on “The Fountain is spellbinding!

  1. @karan
    cant wait to see it man, cant wait to…

    that look is totally justified and humbly reciprocated in thanks 😀 was planning to link back to your post but forgotten who had written the review from all the iiit folks and of course my lazy bones started having their say.. one thing led to another … and …


  2. It is so interesting to me to see everyones’ interpretations to this film…it is incredibly rare for a film to be so deeply moving and puzzling at the same time. I am a huge film buff (600+ dvds in my collection) and I can safely say that this is my favorite movie. I can’t say I totally agree, but excellent job, Poorna!

  3. @Nick
    Totally agree with your statement – the last movie that was so open to interpretation was imo The Matrix Trilogy. The beauty of the story of the fountain is that … the openness to interpretation – it can be moulded into any rational worldview, an oxymoron i guess 🙂

    Would love to learn about your interpretation too!

  4. I interpret the film as taking place in three time periods: the past the present and the future. The present is pretty much set in stone, but the past and future are very much open to interpretation. The past I believe is Izzy’s novel and her interpretation/feelings of her husband’s attempts to save her life. I believe the marauding armies in the past more mirror Tom’s madness and obsession of curing her disease, and his fellow conquistador’s mirror tom’s medical colleagues. I honestly can’t say i’ve decided upon one interpretation for the future. One on hand, it could be that Tom soon dies, and the future is his soul’s trip to the afterlife and his ultimate acceptance of death. When his soul finally reaches Shebulba, he accepts his own death and wishes he had spent more time with his wife. The future also could have been that Tom keeps himself alive for hundreds of years using the tree, and that he finally figures out a way to reincarnate his wife by taking the tree to Shebulba as it dies. However, the tree dies on the way wiping out his hopes for his wife, leading to, again, his acceptance of death. I still haven’t decided on whether or not he actually gets to go back in time to spend more time with his wife, or if this only a fiction in his mind. It also could be that he is, in fact, the last man on earth, and the future is his trip to try and revive mankind using the tree. Tom is tormented by the death of his wife and associates the tree he is with as Izzy. In that case, when he reaches Shebulba, Tom is more a representation of mankind as a whole and the need to accept death as beautiful and natural. Again, I still cannot decide and is the reason I love watching this movie.

  5. @Nick
    Aaaaw.. the past just about matches. Its an interesting take on the astronaut…

    Im definitely more tolerant of the death of Tom than of the Tom keeping himself alive & *young* for those hundred of years… As i said, my thought was that the astronaut was all in the mind of Tom. However, Im still not able to make of the significance of the consuming the tree’s bark by Tom.

    As you said, thats the beauty of the movie…

    Cheers Again, Nick.

  6. something to confuse or maybe explain things better : the last day of the mayan calander, also known to some as the day of the end of the world…december 21th, 2012 in the gregorian calender…

    perhaps the present in the movie is actually 5 years in the future here…with december 21st being the day izzy dies. this would coincide with her referring to the first snowfall of the year as she asks tom to go on a walk a few days or weeks before her own death…

    I loved this movie, so trippy and beautiful!
    In mayan belief, the sacred tree is a metaphor for the milky way galaxy…it fits well with tom’s journey through space to xibalba

  7. @Will
    Thats downright amazing. Thanks for your inputs, Will. Seeing this, it makes me think that it adds more weight to Nick’s interpretation.

    Loved your interpretations guys. Thanks and many cheers to all and of course to The Fountain!

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