Posted by: Sreejith | October 2, 2007

Moved by The Fountain

Once upon a time i was a huge sucker for romantic comedies – the ‘You Got Mail‘ types. In fact even now on a decent day i wouldn’t really mind a good romantic movie – like The Notebook. But then all that churns out of the production houses these days are these sappy romances which preach about unending love and passion that engulfs and blah blah. You have dreamy eyed heroines telling us they are prepared to wait for eternity for the ‘perfect one’ whom they instantly find in the very next scene! What they fail to tell you is that there is nothing like a perfect one. In fact forget perfect, there is not even a ‘one’ in most cases! And for all those perverts dreaming about two’s, wake up and bite reality.

Then you have movies like Bourne Ultimatum which i just happened to check out last weekend. The mindless action ones you can call them. Of course i personally like them because you have very very expansively shot action scenes and they are at least worth the money you pay for the ticket. Of course most of these movies assume a ‘turn a blind eye to common sense’ logic but this works just fine for me because i am willing to believe that all the hottest females on the planet are spies and work for the CIA! I am also prepared to believe that an armed guy can infiltrate the most secure of buildings(none lesser than the bloody CIA) by just using the fire exits!

Now, fire exits remind me of the movies which force us to use them! RGV ki Aag was the last such one but Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is the one that i am instantly reminded of. These are the worst movies ever because they are definitely not entertaining nor are they of the really really bad category that we all love to hate. Yes, i am referring to the Gunda‘s and Jaani Dushman‘s of the world when i say the ones we love to hate. A phenomenal amount of contemporary literature is available on these masterpieces which are the extreme edge of film making. Actually let me rephrase. They are not on the edge… they have fallen off the edge and then the editor picked up the shattered remains and pasted a movie out of them! These are so pathetic you will be shocked as to the sheer magnanimity of stupidity on screen. If you haven’t seen Mithun da’s Gunda, then trust me, you have seen nothing worth seeing. And this is why they are in a extraordinary league of their own.

Coming to the point of the whole post, I was forced to think about all this because, a few days back, i happened to see a movie called “The Fountain” from Darren Aronofsky, the maker of “Requiem for a Dream“. Requiem along with Trainspotting are in my opinion the most beautifully depressing drug movies ever made and that was the reason behind checking out this movie. 30 minutes into the movie, I had understood practically nothing of it and by the time it ended i was hopelessly lost. This may not have been even half as convoluted a movie as Mullholland Drive but nevertheless i didn’t really get most of the movie.

Wondering what the whole point was and what drove people to make such movies, i decided to do some research and fortunately found the director’s commentary of The Fountain. The audio was 90 minutes long and was a scene by scene explanation of the movie. After listening to the whole 1.5 hour long commentary and playing every scene of the movie in parallel, i finally managed to figure it out. Duh!

I learnt that the whole movie was intended to be a sci-fi movie but turned out to be an experimental movie in the end. It has three similar tales – but each set in three different time periods. All of them had the same actors(Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz) and dealt with love. One was about a warrior in search of the Mayan ‘Tree of Life’ which was set in the time of the Spanish Inquisition. One was in the present about a brilliant researcher who was fighting a losing battle to find a cure to the brain tumor which his wife was dying from. And the last was set in the far future about a space traveler who was on his way to Xibalba(a distant nebula) in a spaceship to save his Tree from dying. Its all very interesting and when you see the movie after listening to the commentary, all the pieces fall in place. For one, the number of symbolic references in the movie is stunning. Almost every scene in each story is symbolically referring to the other stories and its finding these little signs that drove me to see the movie again and again! It was definitely worth the effort i took to understand the movie. Also, it was really amazing to listen to the thought process of directors when they are making a movie. On most days i would have dismissed it as rubbish but in a thoughtful mood, this movie can make you sit up and think beyond what you see on the screen and leave you spellbound.

Please excuse all the imdb hyperlinking. I am only trying to help the lazy folks out there!



  1. hmm .. now this description left me in two minds .. shud i see the movie first? Or should I go through its commentary??

  2. “Almost every scene in each story is symbolically referring to the other stories and its finding these little signs that drove me to see the movie again and again!”
    wow! Can’t wait so watch it.
    Got the axxo rip. Now where can i find the commentary ?

    thanks for the links. were helpful. but the snapshots weren’t required.

  3. Rama, see the movie first. Try to figure it out now that i’ve given you enough pointers.

    Ranta, the pace of the movie is really slow… crawls actually. so don’t hate me if u watch it in a buoyant mood and come back depressed. The commentary is also on torrents… i’ve linked to it on the post now.

  4. talk about weird timing – I just lambasted you for not posting –

  5. i havent seen this far as drug movies are concerened Rush was one of my favs…but then iam intellectually challenged..but i will defintely watch this film…welcome back..

  6. I decided not to watch “the fountain” after seeing the trailer. Now you have left me ambivalent.

    I don’t like to watch movie and then read about its interpretation to appreciate it. I like to watch movie and appreciate it by myself.

    If the director wanted people to understand the movie like they do after they listen to his commentary along with the actual movie then shouldn’t that commentary be a part of the movie itself ?

    If a director is using the movie as an art-form .. i am all for it. But it should not be made like a modern art which everyone interprets differently.

    just my 2 cents.

    Watch “A bridge too far” if you haven’t. The scene (a pretty long one) with thousands of soldier air-dropping is jaw-dropping (*weird rhyme*). It left me wondering thinking – did he do it “really” or is it CGI ? I haven’t checked but i want to live under the illusion that it is real.

  7. Trainspotting. God, what a fantastic film that one! I LOVED it. Watched it twice back to back. You should read the book; the words are spelled the way they are spoken. Sample this, the first paragraph of the book.

    “The sweat wis lashing oafay Sick Boy; he wis trembling.
    Ah wis jist sitting thair, focusing oan the telly,
    tryin no tae notice the cunt. He wis bringing me doon.
    Ah tried tae keep ma attention oan the Jean-Claude Van
    Damme video”

    Bludy ossum eh.

  8. IV, ahaha.. that was really unlucky

    Tys, you could show energizer this movie… he’ll fall asleep in minutes πŸ˜€

    Parry, now if you want to see the movie from the makers point of view you will have to listen to the commentary. However everyone is free to form their own opinions and thats why i love ambiguous movies! Btw almost none of the scenes in this movie were shot using CGI. Thanks for recommending the ‘bridge too far’. will check it out.

    S’Monkey, yea. the accent takes a little time to get used to but then on its a fun ride. However the commode scene where he tries to get to the valium is etched in my mind forever :((

  9. if a movie takes so much to understand I am sure I am not going to watch it …

    maybe will watch it some lazy day when I have nothing to do πŸ˜›

  10. hmm.. thought you were talking about rides of the likes of Trainspotting and Requiem πŸ™‚
    or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas rather …
    but after this eulogy to Fountain, gotta watch it πŸ™‚

  11. Gunda rox Gunda rox

    did i forget something ? oh yes !

    Gunda rox πŸ™‚

  12. I haven’t seen any of those movies you mentioned. Not a good thing, I’m thinking. And you left out Vijaykant when you talked about bad movies. All this sounds very interesting, but I’m not much of a movie buff. Unless it’s the 1980-90’s Mohanlal ones. I’m known to quote them, and often. πŸ™‚

    Glad to see you posting.

  13. Hey, a post darn well written.. πŸ™‚ I am a movie buff myself and somehow lately have ended up watching the worse movies ever, namely dumb comedies, sexist romances, nonsensical dramas and worthless sci-fis.. πŸ˜›
    Infact, some of the movies in my must-watch list includes Requim of a Dream, unable to source it so far, have seen Trainspotting and thats one hell of an amazingly crazy movie!! Try watching Dil Dosti ect, sounds a tad lame but its based on the book Catcher in the Rye, worth a watch!! πŸ˜‰

  14. do you perchance have the CDs for the movies (requeim for a dream, trainspotting and the fountain, pi)? my local CD rental is beyond hope and repair

  15. Kunal, somethings are worth the time.

    Nippo, knowing you…i’ll really recommend this.

    Abbulu, i see a Gunda fan.. we are increasing day by day.

    AP, forget the captain…Gunda is bigger than 1 actor! And i love the old Mohanlal ones too. they are so brilliant… esp the comedies with Sreenivasan and all πŸ™‚

    Sam, There are quite a few good ones playing right now.. like Loins of Punjab and Johnny Gaddar. Dil Dosti etc eh.. will definitely catch that.

    Kopos, i had them all on a hdd… but which is roaming always. You can always get them at college na.. I thought you were in Hyd?

  16. I *am* at Hyderabad. Blimey, will have to go to college and get them. Note to self: buy a usb drive.

  17. hmm … i wud refrain from ‘The Fountain’ considering d effort involved.

    But the Bourne Series will happen soon πŸ™‚ btw, did u check out ‘Johny Gaddar’ ?

  18. Somehow ur description reminded me of a movie called Memento whcih my friends were discussing about..havent atched it yet..but its supposed to b very interesting..
    btw u are Taggedddd!!! HI HA HA HA HA HA!! πŸ˜€

  19. Ohh good to know its just not me who didn’t understand these movies! Cool!

  20. Hey Sreejith! Thanks for the links and the post… Lotsa interesting movies to catch for me now:) Say, whatever happened to the PJs? Kinda got used to them now…:)

  21. notebook is probably romance movie which i would admit that i loved…amazing movie..nice list of to catch with many of the ones u have mentioned..

  22. sree… the interesting part is, one doesnt understand the full movie, tries to find out such info to get the full picture in mind. then, it makes u watch the movie again. hmm.. this is another good way of making a movie hit by con’phu’sionism!!! πŸ™‚

  23. Kopos, i read somewhere that now you get 500 gigs in 8K. go go go!

    Sangfroid, Johnny Gaddar rocks. Just caught it…see it you must!

    Di, Memento is awesome… but they had to ruin it by making a Gajini out of it. tag? drat…oh Di.. why me!

    Varun, yep.. there are many more of our ilk!

    Ziah, Anytime! Will post some more soon. Have been saner lately πŸ˜‰

    Mathew, Notebook is my favourite too. Have to read the book though.

    Balaji, ahahaa.. this theory is totally unheard of! Btw The Fountain never got released in India 😦

  24. Hey, stumbled upon your blog while writing a paper on this movie for a film class.

    I actually really enjoyed this movie the first time around and can’t wait for the second. I think it’s probably possible to grasp everything without the commentary, you just have to stay really open and watch multiple times. And even if you can’t understand the story/plot/narrative, watch it for the technical elements. It’s a gorgeous movie.

  25. Michelle, The more you watch the more you find hidden things in it! certainly grows on you. Thanks for dropping by!

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