I will never forget watching my first Darren Arronofsky film, Requiem for a Dream. I was in middle school (7th? 8th grade?), and I had never heard of the director nor the film, but decided to watch it anyways on a whim. What was most memorable to me was not the drugs or the sex, the dark story, the haunting soundtrack, or even the infamous scene that gave the movie it’s NC-17 rating – not that I can’t recall all these elements vividly – but what I remember most was the cinematography. It was the first time I noticed and truly appreciated the cinematography of any movie. With Requiem for a Dream, it’s impossible to miss the split-screen scenes, the repeated video montage every time the characters “push off”, the scenes sped up or slowed down just like in the characters’ chemically altered minds, the sickly green tint as if everything had been filmed through an unclean lens. I credit Aronofsky for leading me to see movies as more than simply stories, for taking me from Rush Hour and Legally Blonde to Vertigo and Pulp Fiction. For showing me movies are more than just entertainment, but works of art created by and acted by artists.
The following is a list of movie stills from all the movies for which Aronofsky was credited as director, listed in chronological order.
Pi (1998) – cluttered workspace (and mind) of a genius in grainy black and white
Requiem for a Dream (2000) – light and dark sides of the American dream in split screen
The Fountain (2006) – ethereal scenes of fantasy in blinding light
The Wrestler (2008) – fading glory in the final fights of an aging, decaying body
Black Swan (2010) – feathered costumes on gaunt, lithe bodies, the ideal of beauty