My 100 favorite films. Entry #29: The Fountain.

The Fountain (2006)
directed by Darren Aronofsky
written by Darren Aronofsky with story by Aronofsky and Ari Handel
starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz
country: usa
genre: fantasy/romance

Visuals: 10
Writing: 6
Everyday watchability: 6
Years spanned in story: 2000

It's back. The list is back. Gosh I know you're all so excited. It's been six months since my last entry, mostly due to the fact that it's tricky business taking DVD screenshots on a Mac. But forget all that, it's back.

This year's installment is The Fountain. It's a heartbreaking, beautiful and poignant film. It tells the story of Tommy and Izzi, who inhabit 2000 years on Earth from 1000 AD (or CE as I guess it's now called) Spain to present day to the year 3000 floating through space in a giant orb carrying a tree. It sounds like a big ball of cheese when described so bluntly, but the movie tells the story of each time period in its own style, and does so expertly.

A clear explanation of the exact nature of the characters is never given. Possibly, the characters have found the tree of life and have lived for thousands of years. Or possibly, these are simply three parallel stories about the same search for hope and love.

The glue that may very well hold the film together is its gorgeous score. Built around a three-note theme that echoes through each era embellished and varied as necessary to fit within each scene's idiom. It's a score that's so touching and powerful, it's almost as effective on its own in bringing about the feelings conveyed through the film.

Another interesting note on the film is that instead of using CGI to portray the orb floating through space, the backgrounds are generated using macrophotography of chemical reactions, then the orb is matted onto these backgrounds. It's a choice that makes the film more personal and natural, and not to mention it's uncomprehendingly beautiful.


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