Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky

Donning the hats of both iconoclast and smuggler, Jewish director Darren Aronofsky is a uniquecase in American cinema of recent years. A cursory look at his filmography, from Pi (1998) to Noah(2014), might suggest he is a director who successfully made the predictable leap from theobscurity of independent film to the glossy, big-budget productions that exemplify the Hollywood dream. But it’s not quite that straight forward. Running through every Aronofsky film are recurring themes and obsessions far removed from the fleeting fashions and cynicism that prevails in the entertainment business. Themes like faith, sickness, death, loneliness and old age. In short, an obsession with the great conundrums of thehuman condition. The brilliant, tormented mathematician of his debut film and the no less angst-ridden biblical patriarch of his last one are connected by a common thread: characters weighed down by a hugeresponsibility that they must bear in complete solitude. The same solitude experienced by the drugaddicts of Requiem for a Dream, the former champion in The Wrestler who must accept that his career has come to an end and the ballerina in Black Swan who strives to make it big in the ruthless world of ballet at the expense of her mental and physical wellbeing. Even when he’s shooting a 130-million-dollar production like Noah, Aronofsky expresses his world view through characters with a mission, characters who know they cannot avoid their destiny. Likeall great iconoclasts, he hasn’t always had it easy. Following the success of Requiem for a Dream, itwas to be another six years before The Fountain was released, due to problems with the studio and the with drawal of his lead actors. But like all great smugglers, he has used his intelligence tooutsmart the system and get away with blue murder, creating a body of works that stand unwavering in an unstable, competitive medium where, like in ballet, only the best survive.