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After Aronofsky made such a bold impression over the last two years, first with The Wrestler and now with Black Swan, I went back to catch up on a film that I had missed at the time. The Fountain is …. about … eeerrr. Let’s put it that way: it is fair to assume that the sick wife of a researcher writes a story about a brave Spanish knight who seeks the Fountain of Youth for his Queen. The researcher himself has to add a chapter, which then gives us the third of three levels of narration. In the beginning, however, we know nothing about all that and are being tumbled about between melancholic yoga, furious battle scenes, and modern brain surgery. Part of the fun of this film is that there is no need to understand the distinction between the layers – confusion is an intended part of the movie-watching experience. The script is carefully crafted to give you the information when you need it. And it all looks fabulous: the people, the trees, the universe are all crafted spectacularly to contribute to this… and now that’s a bit of the point: to this film essay. It is not really a movie, in that it lacks most of a “story” or “plot” or “conflict”. What it does instead is allow its characters to reflect on life, universe, everything, on immortality and love between man and tree – metaphorically, of course.

Surely interesting to see how Aronofksy went from this film to make the rather straightforward “Wrestler” and then almost merge the two concepts into “Black Swan”. No doubt he is one of the directors of our time!

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_fountain/

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