Day 332: Requiem for a Dream (February, 4)

When I think about movies like American Beauty (1999),an odd image come to my mind. Late 90's, early 2000's were in a weird place. Well, when the world is not weird? But for now, for example: I have a sense of coming back to the perverse 50's, with all the fossil ideas I've been seeing about life especially in social media. It is like we're indeed going backwards sometimes, and it is dreadful. 

The 2000's? I'm not sure, but it looked like we had a lot of straight ideas about the world, and some movies, by amazing and innovative filmmakers, reflect this kind of perception. The sort of criticism that thinks it is better than the "ordinary" people, that sees beyond. That's what I thought while watching Requiem for a Dream.

The cinematography and aesthetics is pure Aronofsky, and it is outstanding. the format screams late 90's. It is scathing, fierce, crazy, with all the repeated takes creating the sense of horror that the movies evokes in its attempt to take a look of the new millennium society. What is your fix?, Jared Leto asks to his mother, Ellen Burstyn, amazing in her  claustrophobic performance. The clear intent here is to look at the downfall of modern society by its many perverse traps, the addiction one of them.

That's all good until the last half of this movie, when another element was heavily added: the judgment. Those people are addicted because they seek meaning in all the wrong places, it seems. So, their fate could only be their absolute downfall, by their own fault. I was petrified by it. It reminded me the usual behavior on the streets nowadays, with people showing all their superiority to others: "Oh, are you stressed out because a monster truck almost runned over you on a residential street? Why aren't you like me? I'm not stressed by anything..." Well, it is a weak example, but you get the picture. There's tons of "inspirational" posts on facebook that scare the hell out of me. You do that, you don't do the other and all instructions how to be better, how to reach the truth... One of those posts even begins with "Verily I say unto thee..." Oh, hello God, I didn't realize you're on fb. There's not enough words to express all my horror to things like that.

I shouldn't have been surprised here, because it is a common trait in movies at that time, like the aforementioned American Beauty, that I saw again during my master degrees and was astounded to realize how biased and stereotypical it is, under the disguise of being a critic look at society. Requiem for a Dream was not different, but at least it brings an interesting aesthetic, that keep us locked on the horrors we are witnessing. The most dreadful thing, though, I repeat, was how judgmental of people's choices it is. One thing is to take a careful and fierce look to society; another is say how those people worth less for their choices.

I couldn't stand it by the end, when the only purpose was the chocking factor. No, thanks, I'll pass your opinion this time, Aronofsky. Even admiring your innovative way of being the judge of others, I'd rather a more understanding and respectful view. 

Requiem for a Dream. Directed by Darrenn Aronofsky. Cast: Ellen Burstyn,
Jarred Leto, Jennifer Connelly. Writers:  Darren Aronofsky, Hubert  Selby Jr.,
from the book by Hubert Selby Jr. USA, 2000, 102 min., Dolby Digital, Color (DVD).

PS: the aesthetics in here reminded me an amazing Brazilian short documentary, that utilizes the same kind of narrative by repeating images that Aronofsky in Requiem for a Dream. In Ilha das Flores (Island of Flowers) the reason was mostly economic, because there were not enough money to shoot new scenes - and so the reutilized frames became an alternative way of carefully tell about a perverse social trap (without a biased view, I must add :).

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