The Fountain xibalba nirvana astronaut

The Fountain (2006)

The year is 1505. Or rather, the year is 2505. Actually the year is 2005.

Three separate but linked stories follow a conquistador, an astronaut, and a scientist as they attempt to find a way to prolong the life of their dying love.

Rather than stay to defend his queen from the Inquisition (which nobody suspected), the conquistador ventured to the jungles of Central America to search for the temple of Xibalba. There he hoped to find the Tree of Life.

Rather than spend time tending to his dying tree, the astronaut meditates on the way to the Xibalba Nebula. There he hoped to reincarnate this tree.

Rather than spend time with his wife in her last remaining days, the scientist spends his time deep in research. There he hoped to find the cure to her brain tumor. This is the central story to the film.


The scientist, Tommy, is attending Izzi’s funeral. The conquistador is in the temple. The astronaut is mourning the death of the tree.

What happened to Tommy’s wedding band?

He lost it during his operation on Donovan, like a fool.

Did the astronaut change Tommy in the past?

No. But also yes. Tommy came to accept that everything dies, and it was imperative that he spend the first snow with Izzi rather than fixating on a magical cure for her brain tumor.

Did the astronaut save the conquistador?

No. But also yes. The Mayan guardian took a ray of sunshine to be a symbol from the First Father. That symbol lead to the conquistador fulfilling his places as the First Father: he drinks the sap of the Tree of Life and a bushel of flowers springs from his body.

Rather than three separate stories, could the conquistador be a symbolic story for Tommy’s quest for a cure and the astronaut as an analogy for Tommy’s search for meaning in Izzi’s death?

It’s always been totally weird to me that most synopses of this movie will describe it as three separate stories. The constant character switching and the “Together, we will live forever” seals it for me that this is a deeply spiritual journey for Tommy, the scientist. He was able to accept “death as an act of creation” and plants the seed at Izzi’s grave.


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