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Tyler

Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

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A second poster is here:

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Indiewire has an interesting article about "easter eggs" found within the posters, which may give hints about Aronofsky's enigmatic film:

Quote

All of these easter eggs are cryptic and will probably make more sense once the movie is released, but the one hidden detail both posters share might be the most revealing. Each one sheet includes a lock with an image on it that looks extremely like the symbol for Pisces. The zodiac character for Pisces is two fish, and the implication of what this easter egg could mean starts to tease something ambitious about “mother!”

The legend of Pisces tells the story of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, and her son, Eros. Depending on which legend you’re reading, the two either turned into fishes or were rescued by two fish after Typhon, the deadliest monster in Greek mythology, descended on Mount Olympus seeking destruction. “mother!” probably isn’t going to be a retelling of the Pisces myth, but it can’t be a coincidence that one poster features Lawrence (a goddess of beauty) and the other a baby (a.k.a. Eros). The “uninvited guests” who “disturb” the character’s existence sound a lot like Typhon, too.

Pisces can also refer to the astrological age, which began 1 AD and will end 2150 AD. Because this age includes the birth of Christ, many symbols in Christianity use the image of fishes to represent Jesus. Aronofsky has long been obsessed with Biblical themes — they’ve showed up in everything from “Pi” to “Noah” — and it now seems very likely that “mother!” will be no exception. The Pisces lock could mean “mother!” will be Aronofsky’s most subversively Biblical movie to date.

It's all a bit speculative, but "most subversively Biblical movie to date" has piqued my interest.

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Aronofsky himself seems to be hinting that IndieWire hasn't *quite* seen what we're supposed to be seeing in the posters...

 

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The trailer:

"Director of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan." There's a Rosemary's Baby vibe with this. Also listed in the cast credits at IMDB: Domhnall Gleeson and Kristin Wiig. 

Edited by Joel Mayward

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Evan C   
On 8/5/2017 at 0:18 PM, Peter T Chattaway said:

Aronofsky himself seems to be hinting that IndieWire hasn't *quite* seen what we're supposed to be seeing in the posters...

 

I don't know, but the first thing I think of when seeing the Jennifer Lawrence poster is this, which would be a very interesting take on mothering:

 

in-space-no-one-can-hear-you-scream-10-m

 

 

 

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Evan C wrote:
: I don't know, but the first thing I think of when seeing the Jennifer Lawrence poster is this, which would be a very interesting take on mothering:

That came to my mind too, and it actually worries me, because I feel like the whole baby-as-parasite thing has been *done*.

Of course, as a Noah aficianado, I am curious to see how *this* film's portrayal of domestic horror and (possibly) pregnancy will compare to the third act of Aronofsky's last film, where pregnancy is a miraculous positive good and it is only the quasi-genocidal patriarch who thinks otherwise.

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I haven't seen anyone else talking about this, but Paramount's British YouTube channel has posted a few TV spots:

 

 

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Someone has pointed out on Twitter that if you look at the blood trickling down Jennifer Lawrence's dress in the original poster, it seems to be in the shape of the Hebrew letters that spell YHWH.

And then there's this:

In other news, the film has a new poster that appears to pay homage to the poster for Rosemary's Baby:

Meanwhile, another TV spot:

 

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Saw the film today.

I can't help thinking that it could give a lot of ammo to the people who hated Noah. There is one shot in here that certainly... colours... my response to a similar shot in Noah.

And the depiction of one character in particular is making me think a *lot* about what Aronofsky told me three years ago regarding how he had given Russell Crowe's Noah the "character arc" that God seems to have in the biblical story. Not that the arcs are the same, exactly -- though they do overlap in significant ways! -- but more because the gap between Crowe's Noah and the God of that film is essentially closed here. (When I interviewed Aronofsky three years ago, he said that the God depicted in Noah knew how things would turn out; he wasn't just letting Noah decide whether humanity would survive or go extinct. Aronofsky, at least when speaking to me in my capacity as a Christianity Today reporter, seemed keen to put some distance between Noah and God in that regard. Suffice it to say that the equivalent metaphor in mother! -- if metaphor is the word -- is a lot more ambivalent.)

This is a virtually impossible film to discuss without getting into spoilers, so I'm mostly biting my tongue right now. I may or may not write something up by opening day. Or I might wait even longer, until after non-festival-goers have had a chance to see it and start discussing the particulars.

I will say, though, that the film got me thinking about C.S. Lewis, Peter Greenaway and a quote that Robin Williams once ascribed to Tom Waits.

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Tyler   

So, are the Gleesons playing

 

Jacob and Easu? They're obviously brothers fighting over an inheritance, one kills the other, and there's the red hair; given how the rest of the movie plays out, it seems like a pretty safe interpretation to me.

Edited by Tyler

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SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Like, seriously.

Spoilers.

Huh. I would have said that the primary reference point is Cain and Abel, given that [1] one of the brothers actually *kills* the other, [2] he does so using an object in his hand (similar to how Cain kills Abel in Noah), and [3] the "God" figure puts a "mark" on the Cain figure's head. (Plus, of course, the Cain and Abel figures here are the sons of the Adam and Eve figures who were cast out of the God-figure's study after they touched the "forbidden fruit", i.e. the tzohar-like crystal on the mantle; the fact that the Adam and Eve figures go straight to having sex after one of their sons kills the other is, I assume, a reference to how the grieving Adam and Eve had sex and conceived Seth after Abel's death.)

But the inheritance business does seem a little more Jacob-and-Esau, I guess.

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Here's a clip from the film, of the two brothers fighting, and it's pretty clear from Aronofsky's narration that there's a Cain-and-Abel thing going on here, even if he doesn't use those names specifically:

 

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The allegorical elements of this film are fairly obvious and heavy-handed, but there are a few elements I'm wondering about regarding their symbolism or meaning. SPOILERS all around:

So, Lawrence = Mother Nature/Creation and Bardem = God/deity. The house is the created order, or the planet Earth in particular, which Mother Nature cares for and keeps alive (hence the beating heart in the walls) though it is "owned" and controlled by God. Harris and Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve figures. The Gleesons are Cain and Abel. That all seems fairly clear to me.

So what do you think the following represent:

  • The toilet monster/heart. Is this the Earth crying out for help?
  • The yellow powder Lawrence drinks throughout the film. I have no idea what to make of this yet.
  • The pictures of Bardem. Are they icons of sorts, or even idols (graven images)?

FWIW, here's my review. I'm mostly positive on the film, though I find it difficult to recommend it to anyone.

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Regarding the yellow powder that Lawrence drinks, see this interview with Anne Thompson:

"And what is that yellow potion that Mother drinks when she gets anxious? 'I will never answer what Jen is drinking,' said Aronofsky. 'That secret I will take to the grave.' "

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The Heretical Gnosticism of Darren Aronofsky's Most Daring Film
Moreover, the love that generates the world is encased in an imperfect vessel, as Lurianic Kabbalah holds. Its spark is contained in a vessel that will inevitably shatter, bringing evil into the world. When Woman ate of the forbidden fruit, it wasn’t an apple or a fig – it was the kli, the vessel of the Divine Light itself. And she shattered it.
Darren Aronofsky has thus retold the gnostic myth of the kosmos, with God as Satan. It is not God who creates or maintains the world: it is the Goddess; Her; Isis; Astarte; Asherah. The Male God is the False God, as Gnosticism (and perhaps some echoes of it in Kabbalah) insists. He is the usurper of the power of the true Deity, the Feminine, the Goddess, and while she gives and nourishes, he lives only for himself.
Jay Michaelson, Forward, September 20

- - -

I want to hear more about this "Lurianic Kabbalah" and its "vessel that will inevitably shatter". All the "heart" imagery in the house -- and the way it is fused with the crystal that serves as an allegorical stand-in for the forbidden fruit -- reminds me of how the forbidden fruit in Noah pulsed like a heart. And there's a close-up of Bardem and Lawrence holding hands in mother! that feels, to me, very reminiscent of a close-up of Adam and Eve holding hands in Noah as they walk towards the trees at the centre of the Garden of Eden.

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From a Reddit user:

Quote

Hi there! Fellow person of faith here. The film is a gnostic interpretation of the bible, apocryphons and all. As a Gnostic Christian, I found the film to be unsettling, but ultimately full of love for God and the divine spark that exists within all humans. Nothing is 'mocked'. It's a hard film to watch, but Jennifer Lawrence's character, in my opinion, represented God, and Bardem (who most people are calling god in their interpretations) represented the blind demiurge that created man so that they could worship him. I know you're catholic and not a mystic/spiritual Christian, but I think that everyone who loves God should see this film. It's powerful. Just my two cents.

 

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