The rebirth metaphors were strong in Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. But did you catch all of the little hints the director slipped into the end? We spoke with the director about the deeper meaning behind his space movie's powerful ending. Here are his thoughts. Big time spoilers ahead:
This movie is full of rebirth metaphors and analogies. [Sandra Bullock] getting into the fetal position with an umbilical cord floating behind her. How important were those images to you in this film. And why does space lend itself to rebirth? Why does it work so well in space?
Alfonso Cuarón: That was the point, for us, of the film. Adversities and the possibility of rebirth. And rebirth also metaphorical in the sense of gaining a new knowledge of ourselves. We have a character that is drifting metaphorical and literally, drifting towards the void. A victim of their own inertia. Getting farther and farther away from Earth where life and human connections are. And probably she was like that when she was on planet Earth, before leaving for the mission. It's a character who lives in her own bubble. And she has to shred that skin to start learning at the end. This is a character who we stick in the ground, again, and learns how to walk.
Space already lends itself to all these metaphorical possibilities. I think rebirth in many ways is part of the journey for everybody, not only every human in Earth, but it's also the journey of great characters. Great characters in literature or in cinema they go through the stages of rebirth and of a new understanding.
And also while in the dirt, [that] was something that we wanted to have as a nurturing aspect of life. A character who has to reconnect to her inner nurturing side. The amazing side of life, that keeps us alive. Even if inside you feel you want to die, there's a bigger life impulse that keeps us alive.
So obviously the red rocks and mud that [Sandra] pulls herself up onto [after she lands] was an intentional nod to the rebirth idea?
Well yes, more literally there. She's in these murky waters almost like an amniotic fluid or a primordial soup. In which you see amphibians swimming. She crawls out of the water, not unlike early creatures in evolution. And then she goes on all fours. And after going on all fours she's a bit curved until she is completely erect. It was the evolution of life in one, quick shot.