Saturday, March 03, 2007

Death is the road to awe

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I went to see The Fountain this afternoon. (Yup, I usually see movies alone). The story was confusing at first (I got inside the theater halfway through the movie). I almost regretted not choosing Curse of the Golden Flower or Ghost Rider instead. But I risked it, thinking that I wanted something that is more than purely entertaining. And boy was I rewarded.

The movie is actually beautiful, with many layers of meanings, about love primarily, but also life and death. (Spoilers ahead).

There are three narratives in the story. The first takes the 21st century as its setting. Tommy (Hugh Jackman) is a doctor and scientist who is on a (desperate) quest to find the cure to brain tumor. His wife (Rachel Weisz) is dying of the disease. Throughout the movie one could see how much he loved his wife, to the point wherein he is almost obsessed with his research. The irony is that he ends up not being totally "present" at his wife's side (he is still distracted by his goal of saving her life). He still cannot accept the reality of his wife's impending death. But Izzi (Weisz) is already at peace with her fate. She helps Tommy accept this and realize that death is not the end of everything, but the beginning of something eternal.

Izzi is writing a fairy-tale book called "The Fountain", and this is the second narrative of the movie. Tommy is Izzi's hero, and here Jackman plays the part of Tomas, the conquistador, ever loyal to his queen, Elizabeth (Weisz), and on a mission to save her and Spain. He is on a quest to find the Tree of Life at the middle of the Mayan jungle. He seeks immortality, but most of all he wants to be united forever with his queen.

But Izzi leaves the final chapter/s of the book unfinished. She wanted her husband to finish it for her. She gave him the freedom to decide how the story was going to end. The story helps Izzi express to Tommy how she understands the sacrifices he's doing for her, but she is also leading him to realize an immortality beyond the physical kind.

In the third narrative, Jackman is a sort of Zen buddhist, travelling far into space towards a nebula, enveloped in a huge bubble with the Tree of Life. This is actually far, far into the future. Here he is still on a quest for immortality, with the memory of his wife still haunting him. The Tree of Life is actually part of Izzi, since it has grown beside her grave. So he considers it as she, loving it with the same love he has shown her. It, too, is dying, like Izzi, centuries ago, was dying. He wants to bring the bubble to the nebula because Izzi believed that rebirth lies at the death of a star. While on their journey Tommy finds sustainance at the life-giving properties of the tree's bark. "You give me life," he murmurs to his tree. "We're almost there," he assures her. Such is his love for Izzi. Here we see that Izzi is truly the fountain of his life! Isn't that such an amazing and beautiful way of looking at love? (In addition to the idea that a man can treat his spouse as a queen, to whom he has wholly submitted himself in loyalty and to whom he is ready to sacrifice his whole self, including his life, to be truly united with her forever!)

You have to see this movie to understand it. Or you may perhaps get different interpretations from mine.

I met up with my bro afterwards and saw another movie, An Inconvenient Truth. This is really one movie everyone should see.

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