Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain – still the best film of the
year in my eyes – has had a roller coaster reception at a couple of different
festivals, and that reception probably foreshadows the critical and public reaction
when this heady and emotional film is released in November. Some people get it
and some people don’t.
Thankfully some of the people who get it are at the Alfred P
Sloan Foundation, who will be awarding the film the $25,000 Hamptons/Sloan
award at the Hamptons International Film Festival in October. The award is
given to the feature film “that explores science and technology themes in
fresh, innovative ways and depicts scientists and engineers in a realistic and
compelling fashion.” You may remember that Shane Carruth’s fantastic debut
film, Primer, won the Sloan award at Sundance a couple of years ago.
"Although its themes and characters sprawl over 1,000
years, from the 16th to the 26th centuries, and invoke myth and fantasy as well
as science, Darren Aronofsky’s powerful central story is about a contemporary
scientist who tries to save his beloved wife from cancer through scientific
research and experimentation," the Sloan foundation said in a statement. "In
accurately depicting the enormous potential—and very real limits—of modern
scientific efforts to cure disease and extend human life, this beautiful
symphony on what it means to lose someone you love pushes the frontiers of time
and space to reveal that humanity and mortality may be inextricable, and only
art, for now, can bestow immortality."
When I first saw The Fountain, I imagined it to be a film
that would cross lines and be seen as a great movie. Jesus was I ever naïve. Now
the truth has become obvious: The Fountain is a movie that’s going to be
beloved by some when it’s released, but will not be fully appreciated for a
couple of years. I’m just glad to be in on it from the start.