Background: His first movie, π, was wonderful and beautiful (all in black and white) and a little disturbing. I went into his second film, Requiem for a Dream, thinking that I knew what I'd be getting. The title doesn't really promise anything uplifting, after all. But I had no idea--that film was so beautiful, so fantastically produced and so wonderfully acted that it just about destroyed me with its cruelty. It is not a nice film, not in any way. It carefully builds up four characters, gains your trust and shows you their dreams before completely shredding them--more than in any other movie I've ever seen, these characters are ruined.
Fountain: So now there's this new movie, The Fountain. Katya and I bought the graphic novel (when Brad Pitt left the production in 2002, the first attempt to make the movie collapsed, and Aronofsky made the graphic novel, instead) and I just finished reading it this morning. I know what to expect, and it is certainly nothing like Requiem. I won't mention details here (although that link above has full spoilers) but it deals with some... unpleasantness.
Decision: My first thought on finishing the novel is reflected in the title up there. I might not see a movie like this even if it were by an artist that I well and truly trust, like Neil Gaiman, say. Aronofsky is in my Book of Bad Artists (who are brilliant) along with de Sade (whom I've never read--which isn't fair of me) and the Comte de Lautréamont. And no, I haven't read the Comte's brilliant work, either--I started it, got scared, and closed it right up. I'm sensing a pattern here, and it 's a pattern that does not lead to any Fountain viewing.
On the other hand, as I was walking to work today, it occurred to me that it's been five years since I saw Requiem, and I'm still a pretty happy, hopeful fellow. It doesn't seem to have poisoned me, a la Dorian Gray, though the beauty (both the uplifting beauty and the degrading beauty) have certainly stuck with me. If nothing else, The Fountain promises to be beautiful, and if I'm truly attempting to form myself into a disciple of Truth and Beauty, then maybe I owe it to myself to watch one little movie. For that matter, maybe I need to buckle down and finish Maldoror and read Good Conduct Well Chastised, too. Seems like everyone is always on about "the darkness and the light, must appreciate shadow to fully experience the sun, &c. &c."
It's certainly true that I'm intellectually committed to embracing my Dionysian half, but intellectual commitment really doesn't hold much water in the Dionysian sphere. That's sort of the whole point, really.
At any rate: In writing up this 'blog entry I read the spoilers for Requiem, and it reminded me just how horrible that experience was. So I really don't know if I'm up for this movie. Certainly it's no Justine, nor is it as bad as Requiem, but it does deal with the acceptance of death, and I'm not so down with that.