Religious Themes in the Fountain

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The Fountain
By: Darren Aronofsky

Therefore, the Lord God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and placed a flaming sword to protect the tree of life. - Genesis 3:24. The Fountain starts with a quote from the Old Testament and doesn’t slow down on religious and worldview undertones until the credits roll. The Fountain contains three separate stories with distinct worldviews but also carries a central theme that they all hold. The first story, set in 16th century Spain is a Catholic worldview mixed with polytheistic Mayan culture. The second story is a modern scientific tale. The characters live in what appears to be the normal America; one of a predominantly Protestant worldview. The protagonist though, while quoting biblical scripture, acts materialistic. The third story is set in the distant future and while the Christian themes of Eden and the creation of man exist, it is also nontheistic with its portrayal of the central character behaving in a very Zen Buddhist manner. The entire film has a theme of transitioning from dark to light which could be a metaphor for the transitions of Buddhists to enlightenment or Christians towards salvation. In the oldest story line a Spanish conquistador is shown searching for what he believes is the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden. He is clearly a Catholic character as he can be seen crossing himself on more than one occasion. In fact, he is sent specifically to the Mayan world by Queen Isabel of Spain and the Grand Inquisitor. On his journeys he discovers a group of Mayans who also know of the tree but believe it is, "First father, he was the very first human. He sacrificed himself to make the world. The tree of life burst out of his stomach. His body became the trees roots. They spread and formed the earth. His soul became the branches, rising up forming the sky. All that remained was first father's head. His children hung it in the heavens creating Xiabalba."(Aronofsky, 2006). There is overlap...
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