Lost in the Movies: Requiem for a Dream (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #39 - bonus)

Requiem for a Dream (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #39 - bonus)

This season, I'm publishing podcasts on three different directors - two films each on the usual episode-per-month structure (in January and February, not knowing she was about to receive her first Best Director Oscar, I covered Jane Campion with The Piano and Holy Smoke!). However, March has an extra Wednesday and I have an extra Darren Aronofsky episode in my patron archive, so I decided to offer Requiem for a Dream as a public bonus after Pi earlier this month. The review in this podcast was originally recorded four years ago, and even back then it was absorbed with the passage of time, as I reflect on the film's place in the turn-of-the-millennium zeitgeist as Gen X cinema and culture reached its apotheosis. This DVD was on many older millennials' shelves two decades ago but this enthusiasm has always contained backlash; Requiem's reputation can a bit fraught. Despite the film's bravura style and intense performances (indeed perhaps because of their overbearing power), some viewers find its focus reductive and one-note - is this just a glorified anti-drug "scared straight" promo? While this reading may flatten the movie's rich texture and compelling characterizations, it's worth noting that even the literal packaging of Requiem emphasizes this perspective, with liner notes incorporating Harry Knowles' cringey, embarrassing, hyped-up review and Aronofsky's own more thoughtful reflection on addiction as the narrative's protagonist. But is the film really telling us a story of people who were led astray, rather than lost to begin with? Near the end of this episode, I humor the possibility of a wider social context - hopefully fueling further discussion (as always, if you have your own thoughts, please send them my way and I'll incorporate them into a later episode).

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(video w/ Requiem for a Dream theme)

Requiem for a Dream was featured in my 32 Days of Movies video clip series

I selected Requiem for a Dream for Favorite Actress (Ellen Burstyn), Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly), Original Score (Clint Mansell), Editing (Jay Rabonwitz), Ensemble, Scene (Winter - climax) & ranked 4th overall for 2000 in my "alternate Oscars"


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