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Film Notes: The Fountain

I’m not sure if I understood The Fountain, or completely liked it, but that doesn’t stop it from being an interesting and beautiful-looking film. I’ll describe what I thought what the film was about: in the present, Hugh Jackman is a scientist working on a cure for brain tumours, specifically for his cancer-stricken wife (Rachel Weisz), but uses a Guatemalan plant extract that seems to reverse signs of ageing but doesn’t affect tumours; 500 years in the past, Jackman is a Conquistador on a mission for his queen (Weisz) to discover the Tree of Life in the New World; 500 years in the future, Jackman is an astronaut in an ecosphere spacecraft with the living tree, haunted by visions of Weisz. Present-day Weisz dies, past Jackman gets stabbed but finds the Tree of Life, and the living tree dies in the future – and then it gets into the stuff I’m not sure I understood.

This isn’t a film in the usual sense of narrative structure; if anything, it is a tone poem (whatever that means) about love and death and how we deal with it. It looks spectacular, especially with such a small budget; each time zone has thematic visual elements incorporated into the design. Jackman and Weisz are good, as always, and Darren Aronofsky continues to make interesting and well-made films (after Pi and Requiem for a Dream), this time using Weisz (girlfriend and mother of their child) as a muse. I’m not sure if I can recommend the film because I just wanted to see it because Jackman, as the astronaut, does the Chen-style Taiji compact cannon fist from formulated by Ren Guang-Yi (friend to Lou Reed) – see it here (I’m a Chen-style Taiji practitioner myself). Not really a professional stance now, is it?

Rating: VID

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