Darren Aronofski was born in 1969 and raised in a conservative Jewish family. He is however not very conservative himself and at one point describes himself as classically hypocritical Jew. He went to Harvard and studied Mathematics before going back there and studying Film. His thesis film, The Supermarket Sweep, received international commendation. He featured Sean Gullette who had with whom he was later to write Pi.
Darren’s interests while at high school were graffiti and film. After his graduation, he produced his first big film Pi. It being the first movie was mainly funded by friends and family who raised a sum of $60,000. The talents of Gullette, again, came in handy. The movie was about a mathematician who tries to decipher the secrets of nature using mathematical formulae.
The film is created in a rough format of black and white probably due to the low funds available to the director at the point of producing the movie of the lack of expertise and thereby uses the black and white format to cover his mistakes. The movie largely features the theme of obsession. It is a thriller form of a movie and keeps the audience on their feet waiting for the next move. The movie is made in such a way that it has over two thousand cuts which are rather short for a movie.
The movie was followed closely by other successes like Requiem for a Dream which, again, features the theme of obsession. This time, obsession comes in the form of addictions which hit so hard that they imprison their victims in cocoons of desperation and delusion. The movie would most likely fall under psychological drama category. The movie is also characterized by short cuts as in the case of Pi.
Darren then directed The Fountain which was released in 2006. The fountain depicts a series of themes ranging from love, religion fantasy, fiction and science fiction. It shows how a man struggles for over one thousand years to save a woman he is in love with. The production work is well done with cameras kept steady and leveled or elevated for different situations. The editing is done using traditional styles like fading to fit in with the themes of the movie. The movie would fall under post modernist form of films.
In 2010, Aronofski released another psychological horror movie titled Black Swan. In this film, we explore the life of a ballerina by the name Nina. This time the obsession is about the playing a certain role for which she fails to succeed the first time she auditions. Her obsession is strengthened by an imaginary world in which only she exists and in which she even attempts to kill. The two worlds, so far apart are brought together by film.
Costume design is well done. The background music and dance music is also well selected. The cameras are rather shaky. The double by Nina is well played and convincing. We indeed almost fail to notice the barrier between what is imaginary in Nina’s world and what is not.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND CONTROVERSIES
Darren Aronofski is an American script writer, producer and director. He is famous for his often surreal and disturbing films. His productions have resulted in controversy due to their bleak and violent nature.
His first major success was the Pi was produced with a shoe string budget making sure that polishing was left at the very least. The film also features the minimum possible locations to cater for the funding available. Even then, the director was able to bring up a film that was received rat6her positively. While the film was feared to be a failure, it turned out to be a success by every form of the word. This movie went ahead to win the 1998 Directing Award at the Sundance Festival and the Independent Spirit Award for a best first screenplay.
The second movie, Requiem for a Dream met with a lot of criticism and was nominated for the Academy award in Ellen Burstin’s performance. The Fountain was a box office failure. It has however since garnered a following.
The Wrestler, which was his fourth film, met with a lot of critical acclaim and both of its stars, Marisa Tomei and Mickey Rourke got nominated for Academy Awards. His 2010 film, The Fighter received more critical acclaim and several awards including Best Director and Best Picture. Natalie Portman won the Best Actress Award for her involvement in the film. Aronofski was nominated for Directors Guild of America Award, and the Best Director at the Golden Globes. He has recently released Noah whose full impact is still unknown.
Among the controversies that revolve around his productions is the fact that his movie Requiem for a Dream remains unrated. This was after he was required by the MPAA to remove a certain scene which depicts nudity and sex. He however refused saying the removal of any scene would largely dilute his movie.
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