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Old 12-28-2010, 10:02 AM   #8881 (permalink)
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I watched this yesterday at Denver International Airport because my stupid computer was being stupid and not connecting me to the Interwebs. Pretty funny little side project with a few big(ish) names to help drive it, along with some good music and lyrics. All in all there are far worse things you could do to yourself then watch this.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:59 PM   #8882 (permalink)
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...and the totem is STILL spinning.
Nah, it was just Nolan being a douche.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:00 PM   #8883 (permalink)
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Nah, it was just Nolan being a douche.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:42 PM   #8884 (permalink)
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I just can't relate to this take on Pi at all. It's such an open-ended, open-for-interpretation movie I have a hard time seeing how someone would describe it as extremely literal. I do agree that it feels like a student film, but mostly because of it's extremely low-budget and the fact that it was shot guerilla-style with no permits. To me these things are assets, as they give it a very raw, gritty feeling that works well with the movie. In that sense The Fountain is very different, as it's very lush and polished.
I really can't find many interpretations in it, nor did I find it especially open ended.
Spoiler for pi:
The genius mathematician is obsessed with finding the ultimate pattern, a number that will reveal the meaning of the universe. It drives him crazy (constant frustration, pills, headaches, some obvious metaphorical images of brain and bugs etc). He finally performs a lobotomy with a drill and frees himself from searching for an order (another obvious metaphor). In the last scene he's enjoying that tree for the first time in its beauty and freedom. He finally finds the meaning, to just go with the flow. I actually liked the ending best.

What I mean by literal is that handling of ideas (mathematical and philosophical), depiction of and metaphors for his madness are very obvious to the point of feeling literal. There are no scenes and symbols that subtly reveal many layers of meaning. I think that's important for this ambitious subject. That's one of the reasons why this film feels like a work of a student who wants to be artsy and bites more than he can chew. As for the raw and gritty look of the film, I actually liked that, but it also feels like a conscience choice and so it's part of the style. I can even call it stylish with some obvious nods to Lynch's Eraserhead and early surrealist films like Bunuel's Un Chien Andalou. Well, those are true open to interpretation movies.

EDIT: Now, I understand that this is not a surreal film, but a sci-fi/psychological thriller. But for a thriller it's too repetitive with no real build up and tension, not to mention that it needs a tighter story for that.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:20 PM   #8885 (permalink)
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I haven't seen The Fountain, so I can't comment on that, but I'll probably see it soon. Actually I've only seen Requiem and Pi, so my impression of Aronofsky as literal comes from these two. It didn't bother me in Requiem, I thought that was pretty effective for showing the horrors of drug addiction. But, here, in Pi everything felt so transparent and fake, the way these big philosophical themes were handled, the decent into madness. So it's quite possible to take such a broad subject that just gives itself for many interpretations and turn it into something very transparent and literal by the way it's handled. I am now very curious to see how he does it in The Fountain. After all, Pi was his first film and it very much feels like a student film lacking in experience on every level.
I have a feeling that you may detest The Fountain as it's a very oblique film with the overall theme of the film being one of heightened romanticism without being overly sentimental. I personally think it is stunning but then I do have a soft side!

If a film fails to deliver on certain aspects plot wise then I try to look for other facets of the film, such as cinematography, sound design, lighting, use of lenses etc (yes I am that sad) and most fail but I always appreciate effort and can spot a directors genuine attempt to try for something different and Aronofsky is definitely one of those directors who stretches himself with each film whether it works or not and I appreciate this side of film making.

I have never got around to seeing Pi so can't comment on that film but I do think that Aronofsky is one of the more interesting directors working in Hollywood. To make such a beautifully intimate film like The Wrestler and make a much derided 'sport' interesting took some balls on his part.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:54 PM   #8886 (permalink)
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^^I certainly don't think that Pi is without any merit. Like I said, I like the way it looks. I admit, I'm harsher in my critique of films that pretend to be more than they are. They aim big (and that's ok), but if the central aspect of the film fails then the whole film fails no matter how pretty it looks. The 'problem' for me is that I've seen many films, trippy, surreal, psychological, symbolical that are better, so this one just doesn't cut it. It would make an excellent music video or a short film though. I have a feeling I will like The Wrestler and Black Swan more.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:46 PM   #8887 (permalink)
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:03 PM   #8888 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dankrsta View Post
I really can't find many interpretations in it, nor did I find it especially open ended.
Spoiler for pi:
The genius mathematician is obsessed with finding the ultimate pattern, a number that will reveal the meaning of the universe. It drives him crazy (constant frustration, pills, headaches, some obvious metaphorical images of brain and bugs etc). He finally performs a lobotomy with a drill and frees himself from searching for an order (another obvious metaphor). In the last scene he's enjoying that tree for the first time in its beauty and freedom. He finally finds the meaning, to just go with the flow. I actually liked the ending best.
Your take on the ending is only one possible interpretation. There are others which also make a lot of sense:

Spoiler for pi:
Another take on the story is that all the stuff about knowing the mind of god is actually true and he has blown his mental fuse by trying to understand the divine. Yet another take on it is that he he was never anywhere near the truth and simply a mentally ill mathematician fixated on meaningless patterns.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dankrsta View Post
What I mean by literal is that handling of ideas (mathematical and philosophical), depiction of and metaphors for his madness are very obvious to the point of feeling literal. There are no scenes and symbols that subtly reveal many layers of meaning. I think that's important for this ambitious subject. That's one of the reasons why this film feels like a work of a student who wants to be artsy and bites more than he can chew. As for the raw and gritty look of the film, I actually liked that, but it also feels like a conscience choice and so it's part of the style. I can even call it stylish with some obvious nods to Lynch's Eraserhead and early surrealist films like Bunuel's Un Chien Andalou. Well, those are true open to interpretation movies.

EDIT: Now, I understand that this is not a surreal film, but a sci-fi/psychological thriller. But for a thriller it's too repetitive with no real build up and tension, not to mention that it needs a tighter story for that.
I think you're reading some things as metaphors that aren't necessarily meant as such (sometimes a drill is just a drill ).

As far as Eraserhead and Un Chien Andalou go, I suppose you could say they're open to interpretation, but only in the sense that one can attach whatever meaning one wants to random collections of things. Neither film is particularly deep, and while Un Chien Andalou certainly deserves a lot of credit for it's place in early film history, I've always viewed Eraserhead as sort of what you're describing Pi as. It feels very much like a student film to me: random crap thrown together in a self-conscious effort to be edgy.
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:52 AM   #8889 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
Your take on the ending is only one possible interpretation. There are others which also make a lot of sense:

Spoiler for pi:
Another take on the story is that all the stuff about knowing the mind of god is actually true and he has blown his mental fuse by trying to understand the divine. Yet another take on it is that he he was never anywhere near the truth and simply a mentally ill mathematician fixated on meaningless patterns.
Yeah, but this is not that different from what I've said. I think this kind of subject is open for interpretation and speculation regardless of what actually comes through from the film itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
I think you're reading some things as metaphors that aren't necessarily meant as such (sometimes a drill is just a drill ).

As far as Eraserhead and Un Chien Andalou go, I suppose you could say they're open to interpretation, but only in the sense that one can attach whatever meaning one wants to random collections of things. Neither film is particularly deep, and while Un Chien Andalou certainly deserves a lot of credit for it's place in early film history, I've always viewed Eraserhead as sort of what you're describing Pi as. It feels very much like a student film to me: random crap thrown together in a self-conscious effort to be edgy.
I very much disagree with this, especially about Eraserhead being random collection of things. I'd rather call it spontaneous and somewhat abstract, but not random. But, I guess opposing views make these discussions interesting.
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:14 AM   #8890 (permalink)
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Possibly the least memorable film I've ever seen.
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