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The Fountain?

By on May 2, 2012 5:36:43 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

onomastikon

Join Date 02/2006
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I consider myself a cineast, I love good films, especially bizarre ones and ones that can be considered part of the sci-fi genre, even if that is fairly loosly taken. I like everything from well-established artists (Kubrick, Kurosawa, Tarkovski, Fassbinder, Van Trier, etc.) to weirdo fringe stuff you can only see at film festivals (which we have a lot of here in Berlin).

At the college where I teach ethics, I run a monthly "Philosophy and Science Fiction" evening, in which a meaty sci-fi film is shown and then me and the students sit around drinking beers and discussing it afterwards. This has been great so far. Usually, I choose the films. But one of my students recently gave me a copy of Aronofsky's "The Fountain" and asked me to show it. To be honest, I missed this film when it came out -- never heard of it. But since I really enjoyed "The Swan" and absolutely loved "The Wrestler", I said sure.

So I checked out the film at home -- and am baffled. I don't "get it" at all. I also didn't particularly like it. I find "Stalker" to be more accessible than this film. I'm hoping there is some kind of "point" other than the vague hintings at the esoteric belief that all life is somehow connected. But what is the point? I'm worried now that I have to show a film which has no meaningful philosophical value. But obviously there are people out there who think it's great.

I read the wikipedia article on it, and the most succinct phrase there was a quote by Aronofsky "The film's about the fact that it's OK that we die, and we should come to terms with it." While that's all fine with me, I fail to see how the interwoven story does that topic justice or ask questions in a different way.

Can someone explain this film to me and tout its praises? I have 2 weeks to prepare  

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May 2, 2012 5:50:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I enjoyed it mostly because of its visuals. The clearly connected characters all struggle against unavoidable death in some form, and ultimately the conclusion is that death gives room for new life. Whether the characters are real or not is never made clear.

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May 2, 2012 11:30:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The first time I saw the film, I hated it. I've watched it several times since then, and each time I've enjoyed it more. It's pretty movie, and it has a great soundtrack.

I don't "get it" at all. I also didn't particularly like it. I find "Stalker" to be more accessible than this film. I'm hoping there is some kind of "point" other than the vague hintings at the esoteric belief that all life is somehow connected. But what is the point? I'm worried now that I have to show a film which has no meaningful philosophical value. But obviously there are people out there who think it's great.

I wouldn't say it's a film without philosophical value. It's a movie about one's attitude towards death, which is a rich topic in the history of philosophy. You're right in saying that it doesn't approach the subject in a particularly complex manner. "Fear of death can be self-destructive," isn't exactly a controversial claim.

However, that doesn't mean that the film can't be an appropriate starting point for discussing many contemporary philosophical debates surrounding death, e.g. the nondesirability of death, desirability of immortality, even the extent to which the possibility of death ought to influence our actions, etc.

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May 2, 2012 2:54:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I recommend you to read the discussion to the movie on the IMDB, there were some interesting theories, what was going on, what it was all about, which timeline was actually the real one, etc...

 

I think it was great movie myself, but i agree it was very difficult to watch and i was baffled by it myself. Thats why i know about/read those comments on IMDB myself, seeking explanations.  

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May 2, 2012 2:58:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Timmaigh,
I recommend you to read the discussion to the movie on the IMDB, there were some interesting theories, what was going on, what it was all about, which timeline was actually the real one, etc...

 

I think it was great movie myself, but i agree it was very difficult to watch and i was baffled by it myself. Thats why i know about/read those comments on IMDB myself, seeking explanations.  

 

EDIT: Agreed about soundtrack, its brilliant... have it on my iPhone. Death is the Road to Awe FTW! 

Here is the link for the IMDB:

 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0414993/board/thread/164940256 

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May 2, 2012 5:22:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As a firm believer in Dasein, I found the visuals the most interesting part of the movie. Death is an experience to be savored, not drawn out or mourned. It is the single gift to a harsh existence, the only equalizer of humanity. But the visuals were nice. 

 

If I were teaching a philosophy class, I might start with Final Destination over this one. It engages the audience in death much better than this untouchable mess. 

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May 2, 2012 10:00:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting seanw3,
If I were teaching a philosophy class, I might start with Final Destination over this one. It engages the audience in death much better than this untouchable mess. 

It's a good thing that you're not teaching a philosophy class, then.

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May 2, 2012 10:32:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Final Destination is clever in that it causes the audience to crave the next death, without diminishing the excitement of the future. As a movie it was not that artistic, but it accidentally accomplishes something quite unique. 

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