Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Fountain

The Fountain released in 2006, is a film which mixes the elements of fantasy, history, religion, and science fiction in a love story. It was written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. The movie consists of a story in three different timelines. One in the 16th century, one in present 21st century and one in 26th century. It starred Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, both of them played different roles in three timelines.

The tree stories in each timeline are shown non linearly. Each story is divided by a gap of around 5oo years. Even the stories aren't told chronologically within their timelines but are told by frequently occurring flashbacks and other recurring visual motifs.

The main theme of the film is the fear and acceptation of mortality. The film takes us on a tour which does not guarantee a clear explanation but nonetheless its a visual treat. Arronfsky's work is very good on the themes and motifs in the story. The performances of Jackman and Weisz are brilliant.

 Jackman as Tomás, the
The movie starts with a 16th century timeline. Tomás is shown to be fighting off horde of Mayans to gain entry into a pyramid, where he is attacked by a Mayan priest with a flaming sword. It is revealed through flashbacks that he has been sent by Queen Isabella who is losing her territory to the Inquisition. She has sent her conquistador, Tomás to find The Tree of Life for his Queen. He goes in search of it to the Central American forest in Mayan territory. The priest has some revelation about him and thinks him to be devine. He offers Tomás to kill him. After that Tomás reaches a garden with a large tree but things don't go as he had expected.

Jackman and Weisz as Tommy and Izzi
The main story or the core story of the film is of the 21st century doctor, Thomas, who is working on a cure for cancer using samples of the "Tree of Life", found through exploration in Central America. He loves his wife very much and he is deeply affected by his wife's brain tumor and is determined to find a cure soon so that he can protect her. His wife has written a book but when she realises that she won't live long enough to finish the final chapter, she gives it to Thomas to complete it. Its a story about a 16th century Queen and her conquistador, Tomás.

Jackman as Tom, the space traveller
The third timeline in the film is of the 26th century. It has only one character, Tom. Tom is a space traveler, an astronaut. He is traveling in a spaceship which is enclosed of biosphere and contains in it the Tree of Life. He is traveling to a golden Nebula of Xibalba for a certain event. Its the Nebula, Izzi had mentioned about to Tommy. That they will meet there when the star would die. Many connections are made to the 21st century story here. Like the ink tatoos made by Tommy, certain conversations. It is somehow implied that Izzi is still alive in the tree and can be brought back to life once they reach the Xibabla. Even here things don't go as planned or expected.

If you wouldn't like it, you may shut it within 10-15 minutes but if you would get into it, then it would be an amazing experience, which you may feel to repeat again and again.

Friday, 2 November 2012

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK

People can fall in love at anytime and anyplace. Its said that humans are born to love and to be loved. The world has known many love stories both real and fictional through literature, cinema, plays, theater, etc. So it wouldn't be hard to assume that any person can fall in love at any place. As in the Korean film I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, released in 2006, the love story takes place in a mental asylum. It has been directed by Park Chan-wook. It was written by Park Chan-wook and Seo-Gyeong Jeon.

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, is the story of a young girl Young-goon (Lim Soo-jung),  who is mentally ill since her young age but it has not come to the attention of her mother and so she is not treated from the early stage. Young-goon thinks that she is a cyborg, a robot and not a human being. As a child she was very attached to her grandmother who too suffered mental iilness, her grandmother had a belief that she was rat and used to do weird things. When Young-goon's mother and her uncle-aunt sent her grandmother away to an asylum as she was not mentally fit, Young-goon's condition started to fall. 

She believes that she is cyborg with a cause for existence but she doesn't know the cause yet. According to Young-goon - 'the men in white uniforms' took her grandmother away just before she could tell Young-goon her cause for existence.

Another patient in the mental asylum is Park Il-soon (Rain), who has been hospitalized for anti-social behavior and kleptomania. He thinks he can rob the souls of people.
Park Il-soon because of kleptomania has this tendency to rob things, unnecessary things without feeling any kind of guilt or remorse. He is always accused by the other patients during their group therapy sessions for stealing various things. Of course those patients too are insane. A woman who has trouble with storing memories accuses him of stealing her memory, a patient who loses 5 table tennis matches accuses him for stealing his game skills, etc. Its very hilarious.

When Young-goon learns about him she wants his help. Since she believes the hospital staff to be evil - as they are like the men in white who took away her grandmother, she wants revenge. She wants to kill them. But she feels she cannot do so because she has sympathy in her. She asks Park Il-soon to rob away her sympathy so that she can have her revenge. Thus the story of these two starts.

Also Young-goon's health is deteriorating because she is not eating anything. Since she believes that she is cyborg, she does not eat the food thinking that will destroy her internal machinery. 

She only licks batteries as food. Doctors and other find it hard to convince her but its in vain. Park Il-soon does his best to make her eat. The way he convinces her and makes her eat is awesome. The story couldn't have been better.

The story has much more to offer. The final interpretation of Young-goon about her existence through dreams, dangers from pursuing it, Park Il-soon's efforts to save her without letting her know that he is actually protecting her and the end. What an end! A beautiful, innocent and incorruptible love story between two people who aren't in sanity.

The other characters of fellow patients, doctors and Young-goon's mother and grandmother has been developed and shown well. In terms of performance everyone gave their best. The movie currently holds a 90% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.