Director Darren Aronofsky talked about the “very extreme” reactions to his latest film, Mother!, which the New Yorker described as the cinematic version of an equine root canal.

After delivering the 10 Commandments of Independent Filmmaking at a capacity-crowd at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Aronofsky was asked to address the central theme of Mother. The director said that as with his earlier film, The Fountain, he intended for people to draw their own interpretations.

“The exciting part of what I’ve always been inspired to do is make films that don’t leave audiences with one reaction,” Aronofsky said. “I want people to talk about the different reactions.”

The director said the film, which some critics have seen as a medication on fame and celebrity, deals with his concerns for another mother — Mother Earth, and her cruel disregard in the West.

“The way I think we treat Mother Earth is really incredibly disrespectful,” Aronofsky said. “We pillage her. We take from her. We rape her. We drill into her. We call her dirt … How gross is that?”

Aronofsky said there’s a disconnect from this one ship we’re all traveling on — and it’s hard to get people to connect to the idea that we’re all here together.

“This is a dire straits moment,” Aronofsky said. “Thats’ why Jennifer (Lawrence) played the character the way she did.”

The film also deals with raw human emotion, “about marriages falling apart, relationships falling apart. The creative process,” he said. “A lot of different things for me. It was just like a lot of expression of what was happening to me at that moment.”