Darren Aronofsky and I are connected

About four years ago, since most of the things that happened in my life came with the life-changing moment of starting University, I had a friend who loved movies. We don’t get along anymore, which isn’t a bad thing because I’m better off now, but I do secretly thank her for two things. First of all, I got introduced to my favorite band Incubus and I remember wanting to see Requiem of a Dream after we had our regular discussion about movies. So, despite the fact that these two things remind me of that unhealthy friendship, I still love how much it changed my life and brought me to the weirdly addictive Darren Aronofsky.

This is my contribution to the LAMB’s #31 Director’s Chair.

I don’t actually remember the first time I watched Requiem for a Dream but I do recall the second time I enjoyed the story evolving in front of my eyes. It was certainly something I enjoyed, especially due to its fearlessness to show the cruel reality of addiction, but my mom didn’t agree on the matter at all. I guess it really is a movie that isn’t for everybody, mostly to those who have weak nerves and can’t handle the visual pain Requiem for a Dream causes you to feel. Yet, there is something haunting and beautiful about it, and it all comes down to the word addiction.

For those of you who are not aware what Requiem for a Dream is all about, I’ll try to paint you a vague picture of its main topic. Like I said, it’s all about addiction but what makes it interesting is there isn’t a single way and one way only to view this phenomena like Aronofsky shows. There is the elderly woman who through circumstances desires to fit into a dress she wore in her youth – but taking wight-loss pills is a situation that doesn’t end well for her. Her son on the other hand, has an addiction towards heroin, which based on the realistic showcasing of its effects, seems much more disgusting and actually frightening. His girlfriend shares the same addiction and it all comes down to the love/sexual addictions that could be viewed as damaged due to the extensive use of heroin.

No, Requiem for a Dream is not an easy movie nor a light one, it is far from a shallow drug-addiction and when I started to read about it after the first and the second viewing, it made me wonder how scary it was that this movie is based on a novel by Hubert Selby, Jr written in 1978. If Aronofsky can bring addiction to 2000 from 1978 with such reality and danger, are we ever gonna escape the claws of this phenomena? I guess Aronofsky himself doesn’t believe in such a happy scenario himself and there’s actually an interesting proof of that.

Second time I was impressed to a level of weirdly disgusted place of awe by Darren was during his latest success, Black Swan. Interestingly enough, there is 10 years between these two movies and yet, I want to point out that these are my personal favorites of his work. And funnily enough, both of the movies show addiction because when it comes to Black Swan, the inner obsession to be the best version of yourself and to exceed everything you are towards perfection, is an addiction described with mental self-harm. Isn’t self-doubt an addiction of some sorts? I think it is but it doesn’t take semiotics to see the connection between these two movies. Like Requiem for a Dream had a housewife who wanted to be skinny, Black Swan had a ballerina who’s only goal was to dance the perfect solo

It is not that I don’t like Black Swan enough that I haven’t watched it again, it is because it is heavy and I still remember its core as if it was on my screen yesterday.  Yet again Aronofsky managed to put visual images in my mind and hasn’t taken them back, the nails, the feathers – simply horrible for my weak mind but still, beautiful. For some reason, I think that Black Swan had a less dangerous message than Requiem for a Dream. It must be because I really don’t like drugs and a lot has to do with the image of the black arm that those who have watched Requiem for a Dream might remember. Really does scare me not to try that ever in my life!

But now you must wonder over the title of the post as if I was going to tell a story of how me and Darren keep in touch on a regular basis and send e-mails daily. Well, I don’t do that although I think he’s outlook on things would really give me a different kind of perspective. What I mean by “being connected” is that we actually share something which I tend to think is kind of cool: we both were born on the 12th of February 20 years apart. I like how even the distance in years is a full number because my ability to see signs makes me think about the fact that things have meanings beyond their actual point. I’m a bit weird but then again, I do share a birthday with Darren Aronofsky and based on Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan – he’s a bit weird too.

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14 thoughts on “Darren Aronofsky and I are connected”

  1. Great article! I tihnk the message of Black Swan is a bit more “dangerous” than that of Requiem – if it wasn’t for drugs those people would not face death and tragedy, with Nina is something inside her, mental issue she is not even aware of and she can’t do anything about it, it slowly takes over her without anyone noticing or helping her – and when someone does, like Lily, she doesn’t think she needs any help. It ultimately pushes her so far she actually dies because of her delusions, unlike the people in Requiem who are still alive and in some cases at least in the hospital where they at least have a slight chance for recovery. The only hopeless and lost one is Jennifer Connelly’s character.

    I love Aronofsky, he is my fav director at the moment, though I must say I’m not very excited about Noah, I wish he stuck to psychological dramas.

    1. I do agree.. but in some ways I see more dangerous as something that is so in our hands, so controllable and yet we can’t. Nina couldn’t control it, it wasn’t her choice and of course it is dangerous but the danger of having the choice and not taking it, has taken so many people from Hollywood for instance. I don’t know.. depending on how you see danger but I do think either way, Aronofsky is the man!

    2. I loved Requiem for its unique editing style but I loved “Black Swan” because of Nina’s story as she actually embarks on the journey of the Black Swan. However I did not find the ending of Black Swan to be too dark. I believed it to be a display of her freedom actually. She spent years under her mother’s wing and at the end of the film she was finally moved on from being “Mommy’s little girl” to a women. This is supported from the point on her body where the blood flows from, the area around her hips.

      1. Thank you for this comment that came out of the blue for such an old post I couldn’t even remember! I like your idea of freedom as the message in the end, it’s very similar to Birdman as well, but I think freedom by death is still a very dark ending. It symbolizes the message of suicide and glamorizes it in a way which is never not dark. So I agree, but I also disagree in a good way. Which is what a good movie does, creates different views and opinions.

        1. Yea I was scrolling trough your page because they are so many interesting posts about a lot of movies I loved. And you had one for Darren Aronofsky who I love. Black Swan is in my top 100 and probably my top 10. I just wanted to comment on some of your views on Aronofsky despite this post being outdated! Sorry

        2. No don’t apologize. It was meant as a compliment! Im glad my older posts get read because it means they have lasted the test of time. 🙂

  2. I stumbled upon Requiem when I was in high school, and for such a naive youngster…it was truly terrifying. I always find myself awarding Requiem the top score for films relating to addiction/drugs. Aronofsky really captured desperation in this film with all of the characters. And what amazing cinematography, and hauntingly unforgettable score! And can we pause for a moment and try to wrap our brains around how Julia Roberts won the Oscar over Ellen Burstyn!? That still blows my mind to this day. One of my favorite film quotes comes from this movie. “HARRY, I’M GONNA BE ON TELEVISION!”

    1. It is scary, it could be like a educational movie to scare kids away from drugs or something. And Burstyn definitely better than Roberts and I can’t even recall what role.. Erin Bro-something?

    1. I have seen glimpses of it and I was very confused. I think I was not in the best mindset to watch it so I would definitely have to rewatch all of it soon.

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