Wednesday, September 06, 2006


The above gorgeous image is a screen capture from the preview trailer for "The Fountain." I find the still image a sublime example of what moviemakers can do when they put their minds and hearts to the task. The image in motion, however, is positively hypnotic for me.

According to the scuttlebutt, the movie's "Tree of Life" motif is derived from Mayan mysticism. As I know nothing about Mayan thought and culture, I first saw this image through a somewhat Chinese lens, and couldn't help noting that this scene, which appears to represent some sort of ascension or apotheosis, shows a human figure meeting its fate not head-first, but danjeon-first. The danjeon (Chn. tan-t'ien), represents the vital center of a person's energy: it's the point three finger-widths below the navel where all the ki meridians converge or originate.

Now that I've read the trivia about "The Fountain," I know that the above-pictured scene isn't meant to reflect elements of East Asian spirituality, but I still can't help seeing what I see. Whatever the image might mean and however the sequence plays out in the movie (judging by the symbolism, I'm guessing this occurs pretty close to the end of the story), I find this ascension-moment captivating, and I could quite easily stare at and ponder this tableau all day, if I had the time.


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