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“Requiem for a dream” is a film released in 2000, directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans.
The film is about four drug addicted characters. Each one of them is imprisoned in his own delusional world due to a drug usage. The film is divided to three parts: “Summer”, “Fall” and “Winter”. The beginning of each part is announced by dropping the title of the part from the top of the screen filled in white on a black background. Each season marks the changes in the lives of the four main characters.
Starting with the first part “Summer”, which as a season represents the period of success and productivity. This is proven also by the color palette of the film which changes in every part of the film to create a contrast between the seasons. It goes from warm to cool in the “Fall” part in which the characters’ addiction is becoming more profound. It goes from cool to dark in the “Winter” part where the tempo of editing becomes faster and the soundtrack is intensified. It is the final stage for each character.
The split screen is extremely used in this film, however it was vertical or horizontal, even tho there’s no need for it. The director used it to represent the differences between every character and their own world. It represents the point of view of every character, the viewer can easily get this when in each screens we can see through the character’s eyes. Even the top shot of Harry and Marion is represented in a split screen, each character in one. Many ellipses are used and a lot of shots are taken using the fisheye lens, especially when the characters are high on drugs. To represent the process of drug use the viewer is taken into a sequence of rapid shots, extreme close ups, exaggerated sound effects. This same sequence is utilized for portraying drug use the whole film. This sequence is really fast and attracts the viewer to keep an eye to construct fragments of the story. And after every drug usage there is a time lapse, or slow motion, cross dissolves, fade to white… and these elements are used to signify the passing of time, because drug use makes time move differently. Jump cuts are also used to signify the passing of time. A lot of shots were used more than once: the sequence of drug usage, a shot of Sara sipping her coffee was looped with some sound effects, the shots of Harry and Ty while trading were looped with the sound, a cut away on the tv’s remote controle when Sara shuts it off, also a shot of the sun and a shot of Sara closing a closet.
When harry was high he was kinda hallucinating that he’s somewhere with Marion, we could see him talking but no sound were added. We also have a split screen to the same footage of the drug usage each one representing a character. There were two rotating top shots. The first ceiling fan camera was used during Ty and Alice’s sex scene and the second was for Harry and Marion high before their first argument. A scene representing time passage and Sara losing weight, looping the same sequence each one introducing a new day. The 180 degree rule was broken when Sara and Harry had a conversation and he realized she’s taking pills. Some shots were just the hallucination of the characters which makes the viewer believes it until the shot is reshown as it is in the reality, and in some shots we have the food appearing through a fade in which is actually the point of view of Sara.
In the last part, where things get worse, we have a shaky effect to represent the addiction and how much the characters are desperate and in the need of drugs, and cross fades between the reality and their hallucinations, where they are left as hollow shells for their former selves. The movie is a mix of continuity and discontinuity, as a whole it was more like continuous, except for some sequences that were obviously not. Aronofsky has done a great job and it was the best way to represent the drug addiction, every element he has used has its proper justification and it is easy for the viewer to understand the use of every element.
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