Study Guide for “Requiem for a Dream” (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)

  1. In “Requiem for a Dream”, the director Aronofsky’s use of camera is very subjective. Identify a few examples from the film and then discuss what purpose(s) such a subjective camera serves in the film.
  2. Identify some of the scenes in which the director uses distorted images and discuss what messages are conveyed through these images.
  3. Examine the scenes in which Aronofsky splits the screen into two and discuss how they serve the film.
  4. What technique(s) does the film display when we are first introduced to the four protagonists of the story?
  5. Comment on what the following could mean to Mrs. Goldfarb: the red dress, the TV show, the refrigerator.
  6. Comment on how mass media is perceived in the film.
  7. Explore the theme of “American Dream” in relation to the film title.
  8. In an interview [“Dreams Fulfilled: A Darren Aronofsky Interview”, David E. Williams (2000), filmthreat.com], Aronofsky describes the film in the following manner: “… this film is about addiction versus the human spirit. And it’s a one-way ticket into the sub-sub-basement of Hell..” Discuss the quote in relation to the film.
  9. Essay Topic: In relation to how the four major protagonists are represented in “Requiem for a Dream”, discuss the following quote by Aronofsky: “One of the things this film is about is the hole we create in our present when we chase the illusion of tomorrow and then the distances we go to fill that vacuum with anything and everything.” [Source: Walsh, D. (2000). “Shouting but not saying much”, World Socialist Web Site]

© Ali Nihat Eken, Istanbul, September 2008

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