Fountainhead: A lonely path of integrity

Image result for the fountainhead movie poster
The Fountainhead (1949); Director: King Vidor; Screenplay: Ayn Rand (Novel: The Fountainhead); Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

What is it about?

The film and novel are concerned with the life of Howard Roark, an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision, following his battle to practice what the public sees as modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite resistance from a traditionally minded architectural establishment. The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allow the film to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work. Roark is Rand’s embodiment of the human spirit, and his struggle represents the struggle between individualism and collectivism. (From the WiKi)

What the film told me?

First, Roark showed me that the road to integrity is dreadful. Standing stubbornly with his anti-mainstream principle is frightening, but slowly one or two clients that share the same view as his (link to start with why) will show up.

Second, things that were burdening Roark is not just “this is my way”, but to create a legacy. A groundbreaking idea that challenges the status-quo and not compromising with the old way pressure. An idea that will last because it offers what the society need, not what the society wants. In this case a cost efficient yet beautiful piece of architecture.

In sum, the film told me to keep believing and stand strong to our faith. Because “if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything” (Irene Dunne).

Below, is Howard Roark final speech on “individualism vs. collectivism”, as he put it a person’s brain against the collective brain.

How it makes me feel?

After the film ends, I was energized and inspired. As a person who works in the creative industry, the tension between integrity and obeying what the client (“public”), sounds too familiar. And seeing even just in movies that integrity wins, is refreshing.

Sadly, in real life. Conversations on this matter just become a cliched rhetoric on coffee or cigarette breaks. There are thousands of agencies out there, but there are only a few that we adore. And from those short list, we often say, “How the heck they convince their clients to do that?” Then we scroll another nominee or award winner. And that’s it. Yes, the film left me energized, but it also makes me longing for fellows that are ready to stand on the Roark side.

But, it makes me wonder:

“Roark stands firm because he believes, his idea is superior. But, what if his idea really sucks? Or he is not good as he thinks he is?”

Pay attention to:

Enright the savage

Memorable lines:

Roger Enright: “No madam I have nothing to say about this building. God gave you eyes and a mind which you’re to use. If you fail to do so the loss is yours, not mine”

Female party guest: “But, don’t you want to convince me?”

Roger Enright: “Is there any reason why that should be my concern?

Ouch, burned. Savage AF.

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