The theme for this week’s selection is immortality be it the quest for eternal life and or what happens if you get it.

Wednesday Double Feature - Immortality - THe FountainSo this all started when I first heard about Darren Aronofsky‘s The Fountain (okay I know I’ve heard about it before but I’m pretty sure most of the time I got it mixed up with either The Cell or the Prestige)

The Fountain tells several stories, the primary one is about a neuroscientist played by Hugh Jackman who obsessively is trying to use his findings to treat dying wife (played by Rachel Weisz) He makes some progress based on a mysterious sap from a South American tree that shows some incredible healing properties.

In the mean time we go back and fourth from here into the past in a story being written by the wife about a Spanish conquistador (played by Jackman) sent by the queen, (played by Weisz), the tree, and then forward into the future where a space traveler (Jackman again) is seeking a nebula in a ship powered by the tree.

All in the name of eternal life.

I’m honestly not sure what I think about this one. Aronofsky’s certainly good at his craft with some great visuals but I’m not sure if I’ve ever been his target audience.  To be blunt, he’s a little too weird for me. Still it was solid performances from Jackman and Weisz.

Wednesday Double Feature - Immortality - OrlandoFrom the quest of immortality we move on to one who has had immortality thrust upon them. Tilda Swinton plays Orlando in the film of the same name by Sally Potter.

Orlando is a rich courtier in Queen Elizabeth I’s court. Elizabeth, entranced by the young man’s  beauty tells him to never grow old… and so he does not. From here we of through Orlando’s life as he falls in love, tries to be a writer, travels to Constantinople, and, oh yes changes sex.

This was an interesting small film. It has a surreal quality about it, frequently with the years passing by as if like a dream. But it’s Swinton’s calm understated performance what really makes it work. She treats everything in stride from the passage of years to the sex change. (And with Swinton’s naturally striking androgynous appearance all it takes is a change of clothes to make this work.)

But what makes it all the more interesting is that no-one seems to notice anything strange either. As the narrator says… The English just don’t talk about these things.