Rreceived mixed reviews in 2006, The Fountain is a curious outlier in Darren Aronofsky’s directorial career. Stemming from the critical success of Requiem for a Dream of the 2000s, it is often dismissed as the writer / director’s most inaccessible and complacent film. With the possible exception of Mother! of 2017, it remains his most controversial work.
In fact, La Fontaine wasn’t even meant to be Aronofsky’s third film. After completing Requiem for a Dream, he was hired by Warner Bros. to bring Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” to the big screen. Working from a screenplay by the famous graphic novelist, Aronofsky enlisted future Bruce Wayne Christian Bale to don the famous hood before creative differences between the director and Miller forced the studio to put the project on hold in 2001. Years Miller later teased that this was the first time he had “worked on a Batman project with someone whose vision of Batman was darker than mine.” (The unused script is always available to read online.)
With a sudden shift in his schedule, Aronofsky turned his attention to The Fountain, hoping Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett would join him as leader – but again, he struggled. When the first left abruptly due to unsolved scripting issues, the project fell apart and lay dormant until 2004, when Hugh Jackman and Rachael Weisz helped Aronofsky resurrect his low budget passion project.
While this off-screen drama has since made cinematic history, it’s easy to see why The Fountain struggled to connect with audiences. Structured into three cohesive stories, the film follows Thomas (Hugh Jackman), a scientist desperately trying to find a cure for his terminally ill wife, Isabella (Rachael Weisz).
At the same time, we meet Thomas as a 16th century Spanish conquistador who made his way through the dense jungles of South America in search of the tree of life, and Thomas the space traveler, floating alone in an empty void with the same life. giving tree to a dying star and the promise of rebirth.
If these intrigues have a single general theme, it is the grim inevitability of death and the desire of humanity to fight it. Visually, the film is peppered with existential and hypnotic imagery – swirling golds, dazzling silvers, vibrant reds and greens – like a Tool album cover come to life. Thomas’ three-part journey sees him travel from cold blacks to stark whites, subliminally reflecting themes of mortality. The haunting score of the Kronos Quartet, Mogwai and composer Clint Mansell further increases the inevitability of death.
Like life, La Fontaine ended too quickly. It ends as soon as its message is delivered – a reminder that death is coming for all of us, no matter how hard we try to rally around it, so we might as well accept it. This is an undeniably dark statement, which Aronofsky himself admitted in 2009: “The film is about the fact that it’s okay that we die and that we should live with it,” he said. told the Guardian. “But a lot, a lot of people don’t want to think about it, so why pay money for a meditation on the loss of someone you love?” “
Cinema has the power to help us try to make sense of the most difficult aspects of the human condition. And The Fountain explores the biggest subject of all: the end. That he does so in such a poetic, tender, and visually (and auditory) expressive way perhaps explains why he’s become a cult favorite. It’s a heartbreaking and singular visual experience that has long deserved a second look.
Reference of the Article-post – lwlies