Thursday, September 2

Pulling Rabbits: On Darren Aronofsky


a : a distinctive manner of expression (as in writing or speech)

b : a distinctive manner or custom of behaving or conducting oneself

(source: Mariam-Webster online)

Georges Méliès was one of the pioneers of early filmmaking. He was a magician before picking up the camera, and much of his work is filled with very clever stage tricks. His most famous work, for example, revolves around a group of scientists being shot to the moon in an enormous bullet where they meet a gang of vicious moon-monkeys who explode when thrown to the ground (hey, it was 1902). And though his works might tell simple stories, he used his enormous creativity to constantly dazzle audiences. His tricks might not fool anyone nowadays, but his style is still effective in taking you on a journey.

And I think that is the same way Darren Aronofsky will be remembered 100 years from now.

Allright, let's back up a bit. Darren Aronofksy (1969) is an american filmmaker who has thus far made five feature films: Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and Black Swan, which isn't out yet. He is perhaps best know for his strange, esoteric style which sometimes seems to be more important then the story. Style over substance, some say. I... don't really say anything. My usual reaction to an Aronofsky film is stunned silence.


If you strip it down to the very minimum, Aronofsky basically tells the same story every time: someone has big plans that get ripped to shreds by things that have nothing to do with them, devastating them in the process. But just focussing on his stories would be a gross unjust to his art. Aronofsky's works can best be understood on a level that lies beyond simple storytelling: the emotional level.

Let's take Requiem for a Dream, for example. I admit without any shame that I cried at the end of that movie, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who was positively devastated by it. But just the story of the druggie going to hell is not something that I would normally consider all that affecting. Yet if you throw in the colors, the strange camerawork, the short and ultra-fast montages and Clint Mansell's haunting music, it becomes nigh unbearable.

Also, the eye. Oh my god, the Eye.

Style is usually something that conveys the mood of a scene and supports the narrative that way. But what Aronofsky seems to do is use the story as a frame to hang up his style. Not everyone may like that, but I know I certainly do.


P.S. Also, when the dude makes a movie, he doesn't shave his beard until it's done. That is just freaking awesome.

The music.... well, it can't trump the master, but it definitely hit me.

No comments:

Post a Comment