Monday, October 09, 2017


MOTHER! (2017,   Darren Aronofsky)

I looked at my watch and counted down the seconds because I knew what was coming. The TIFF press screening of Darren Aronofsky's MOTHER! was just over and I expected the usual tweets. Sure enough, right on cue, came tweets dismissing the film and calling it garbage. A few more angry tweets appeared. I waited and then as expected, a tweet praising the film. Less than 30 minutes later, a tweet came out referencing where the director called the movie about "climate change". Then another, "hey guys, there are Biblical references. Does that change things?".

In less than an hour, the whole range of reactions had taken place regarding the film. I smiled and headed off to my next screening. These reactions were normal for any Aronofsky movie and I was glad to see that nothing had changed.

The film references the Bible and even climate change but the scope is much bigger than that. The scope is the entire history of our planet, from creation to evolution to destruction, and then like a loop, starting all over again. The movie is about what we humans do to our planet, how we use religion to divide and fight, how wars take place, both world wars and civil ones, how organized gangs take out humans, how government organized disappearances take place, how we blindly believe in someone's words, how we end up consuming and destroying the very thing we claim to love.

Of course, such scope and the manner with which it is presented opens the door for plenty of ridicule and negative reaction. Yet, there are moments which make it hard to dismiss the work. For example, the segment of the unfolding of our planet's history is a roller coaster ride where the camera goes from room to room and documents all the horrors of our society in unflinching detail.

The film is all about allegories so here's another one.

A famous soccer player steps up to the penalty spot. The crowd is expecting a goal yet the player blasts the ball over the crossbar. Silence. Complete shock that how such a player could have blasted the ball so high and far from the goal. Years later, fans don't remember the goals that were scored but still talk about that one player who blasted the ball over. That miss ends up being more spectacular than the goals scored.

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