Requiem for a Dream

‘Requiem for a Dream’ is a film by Darren Aronofsky that links the lives of a lonely widowed mother, her son Harry, his girlfriend Marion and his best friend Tyrone. It tells a hypnotic tale of four human beings each persuing their own vision of happiness.

Each individual is a drug addict. However, this is not a story about drugs, it’s about their journey to be renconcilled and happy in life. However, as their addictions become more and more poignant and even as their lives begin to fall apart, they all refuse to let go, plummeting with their dreams into a heart-wrenching free fall.  This idea of life being a journey and how we all want to find happiness is something I want to convey in my project. Requiem for a Dream uses drugs but it’s not the focus. Like my project it’s not about being transsexual, it’s about how they want to be perceived, my subjects becoming reconciled with who they are. As a result of this I want to focus my video on how my subject’s are becoming who they really are and have always wanted to be, their journey toward happiness.

In terms of visuals in Requiem for a Dream, I adore the entire film! Every shot serves its purpose in developing both the character and story. However, the sequences I particularly enjoy include the extreme close ups to show drugs acting on his characters and the split screen of Harry and Marion.

The close ups of drugs are like cool hip hop montages and also help develop the characters psyche. We see the pills, or the fix, filling the screen, because that’s all the characters can think about. Then the injection, swallowing or sniffing–because that blots out the world. Then their pupils as they dilate, which is shocking to see the physical affects. Each shot accompanied by a short, snappy sound. It thrusts you into an irresistible frenzy; it’s exciting and edgy which reflects how the characters feel.

The split screen of Harry and Marion is one I’d really like to attempt. On the right we see Harry on the left we see Marion. Each possesses their side of the screen. However, their movements also enter the other halves. It’s really intriguing to watch and suggests how they are even separate due to their own personal conflicts even when they are together. I’d love to create a sequence with my subjects similar to this one, but it may take a lot of patience, which I don’t have!

These sequences within the film have highlighted how the positioning of footage and audio used to enhance it can be extremely powerful. I want to try and emulate the split screen effect in order to show different aspects of my subjects in one shot.

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