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an evening with Darren by +peter
June 1, 2007, 5:14 am
Filed under: Japan, Opinions


It was a quiet evening in Japan. The day had begun to pass into the west, in preparation for its magnificent rebirth the next morning.

My girlfriend and I sipped green tea under an orange sky in the park near my apartment. I lowered my cup and looked into her eyes mirroring the sunset. Silently, we agreed that it was time.

High-school children were all around, riding their bikes and laughing, relaxing after an incredibly long day at school. The couples were always obvious as the girl would be riding on the back of the boy’s bike, either sitting on a rack or standing on pegs.

My bike has no pegs, so Mayumi had to balance on the frame itself. She somehow managed beautifully, and we glided out of the park on an old bike with a broken chain and unresponsive front brake.

After many nights of false starts, it was now time. The mood was right and we had plenty of time to relax. It was time to finally watch, The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky.


I tried very hard to remove any expectations I might have had for this movie. Already, much of my understanding, accurate or not, had been formed by relentlessly watching the preview for the past year or so. I knew what I wanted, yet I was prepared to have all that shattered and replaced by whatever the director’s artistic vision was.

What I was given, was more of a puzzle than a story. I was given the parts to an epic, but it was my duty as the viewer to find the connections and make sense out of the brilliant chaos.

I heard rumors that the movie had received mixed reviews, yet all that did was tell me that this viewing experience would probably require a tremendous level of mental cognition. I decided it would be best not to taint my bias with the critics’ opinion before or after my viewing. I found the experience of watching The Fountain to be so singular, so reliant upon one’s concept of self that it only makes sense for the opinions to vary wildly from one person to the next.

Is the movie a good movie? I say yes, without any doubt it is a good movie. It is a beautiful narrative with well developed characters that you form an attachment too. Does that mean everyone will enjoy it? No, it does not. It all depends on your ability to shed expectations and devote your mental faculties to understanding what the movie means to you.

Given just a tiny amount of mental work, the viewer will discover what is both awesome and sublime in this movie.

Yet I have found myself frustrated. Not by the movie, but how a concept so challenging and beautiful can exist in film yet not have a place in my medium of interest.

I am angered by the fact our entire medium of “video games” is supported by cliches with no connection to actual humanity. Where is the beauty of concept, where is the challenge, where is the sublime?

This movie is inspiration enough for me to attempt changing the present reality, because within our beloved medium, there is no home for ideas as beautiful as the one created by Darren Aronofsky.



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