In less than three months, "The Fountain," a film by Darren Aronofsky (based on his own story and screenplay), will be released on DVD. I'm hoping this DVD release will make the film available to those who missed its somewhat limited, short-term release in theaters this past year.
Only twenty-or-so people turned out at the Friday screening I attended here, In Midland ..... and nearly half of them got up and left before the film was half-over. They may have been the rule, rather than the exception ... one could barely hear the faint clicking of box office receipts being generated nationwide.
Critics' response ranged from the laudatory to the lambasting ..... though quite a few found themselves torn, somewhere in the middle, between one extreme and another ..... "In telling a tale of love across time, Aronofsky is sometimes guilty of creating arty, pretentious psychobabble," wrote Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. "But in visual terms, he's trying to expose his own raw, romantic heart. Folly? Maybe. But a risk worth taking." ..... Lisa Schwartzbaum, of Entertainment Weekly, wrote, "I'm as touched and charmed by its failures as I am transfixed, at times, by its successful inventiveness and audacity."
At the Venice Film Festival, several critics booed the film at the press screening, but the next day, it received a 10-minute standing ovation at the public screening.
Me, I enjoyed the film ..... but, I can see that some would be challenged, even put-off by the structure of its narrative. Imagine three men who are one man, sharing one quest, one desire, one end, then reaching that end by different means, following different paths in reaching their shared goal. Then imagine the film moving back-and-forth between the three, then back-and-forth again, and again.
Tomas, a 16th-century Spanish conquistador, beloved of Queen Isabella of Spain, searching the jungles of MesoAmerica for the Biblical Tree of Life and its promise of immortality. Tommy Creo is a modern-day oncologist, whose research - and his hope of saving his terminally-ill wife - takes an unexpected turn when he discovers the rejuvenative powers of a compound derived from a Guatemalan tree. Tom is a 26th-century traveler, crossing the depths of space in an ecosphere, accompanying an ancient tree on a journey to a nebula that - the Mayans believed - offered the promise of immortality.
Interpretations of the film are legion and diverse. Me? I see in it an affirmation of Christian teachings ..... there is the promise of eternal life, and that promise is delivered, but NOT in this world. It is a foundation that underlies everything else in the film, and provides for pivotal points on which all three tales - and the grand narrative that binds together all three, spanning centuries of time and light-years of space - are at last resolved.
I'd like to know what YOU think, when you've had a chance to see this film.