Pi … faith in chaos

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Plot Synopsis: Max is a genius mathematician who’s built a supercomputer at home that provides something that can be understood as a key for understanding all existence. Representatives both from a Hasidic cabalistic sect and high-powered Wall Street firm hear of that secret and attempt to seduce him.

π was written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, and filmed on high-contrast black-and-white reversal film.

In 1996 Aronofsky began creating the concept for his first feature film “π”, a psychological sci-fi thriller. After the π script received great reactions from friends, he began production. The film re-teamed Aronofsky with Sean Gullette, who played the lead. During production, Aronofsky and crew realized they didn’t have enough money to complete the film. Associate Producer Scott Franklin came up with the idea to raise completion funds by asking every person they knew for $100. Later in production certain individuals put in more cash, which let Aronofsky complete the film. After π was completed (with a budget somewhere around $60,000), it premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and Aronofsky won the Directing Award. The film was picked up by distributor Artisan Entertainment and released in selected cities. The film later won an Independent Spirit Award and the Open Palm. $100 investors were said to be subsequently re-paid with $150. However, certain crew members complained that they were never paid at all. Crew members confronted Aronofsky about this, and he claimed he was suing his distributor. Use of the SnorriCam is one of Darren Aronofsky’s trademarks, as featured in π.

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10 thoughts on “Pi … faith in chaos

  1. 1st…what is a snorricam?

    2nd…brilliant ideas all around from the script to the fund-raising. I saw a parallel to the matrix in the sense that these numbers were all something different to all who were seeking it. They made the numbers what they wanted it to be and saw Max sort of like the ring leader (by default b/c he was the “one” who obtained and created the numbers). I remember seeing this film when it came out and seeing it as only an ‘art film’ and now with maturity and deeper background I see it as much more with it’s concept as the highlight instead of pure aesthetic value. But this also brings me to another point:

    the death of FILM. There is a stark difference in the visual element of film vs digital. You cannot achieve the same beauty with digital but I suppose the same goes for gelatin silver vs. digital cameras for still images. But it should be noted that there is a HUGE difference. From this pet peeve of mine I was actually driven to speak with a professional camera man from Channel 3 News who also moonlights as a documentary film maker in his spare time. This bonding over our love of film vs digital has allowed me the connection to seek him as a mentor in my endeavors if I so choose to continue with video. I guess we will see what happens.

  2. A SnorriCam is a camera device used in filmmaking that is rigged to the body of the actor facing the actor directly, so when they walk, they don’t appear to move, but everything around them does. A SnorriCam provides a dynamic point of view from the actor’s perspective. (wikipedia)

    There is a distinct difference between film and digital video eventhough there are high end super fancy digtal cameras. Good eye.

  3. I thought the use of sound in this film was exquisite, the repetition of the same sound whenever one of his attacks would come, made the viewer feel what he was feeling, it almost made me regret it as much as Max also. With the piercing audio it made my head begin to pound with the rhythm of it. The visuals were very striking also, when the camera began to skip and jump almost in anxiety with Max was very well done. The concept and the quest for this 216 digit number really made the everything so surreal. How the different faction were each after the number but for different reasons and purposes really made the tension build externally as well as internally with Max’s condition.
    These two separate controlling forces made the ending really come together, because there seemed to be no other way to release the pressure that was building than for Max to do what he did.

  4. Stupid fly! I can’t even imagine being a actor in that room. I personally love this movie the more and more you watch it the better it becomes. Because I am not a mathematical, I don’t get caught up in the gravity of one number solving the world’s problems because I am an artist I can appreciate how it pulls you into this obsession of finding the truth. I like the idea of what you want to see, you will see is a similarity between the matrix and PI. Life is just one big autostereogram it seems to be the message of both of these movies.

  5. I had seen this before, but it was definitely great to watch it again. The idea that the closer we get to fully understanding ourselves and the world around us (meaning of life?), the crazier we get was an interesting one. One can understand that trying to understand something beyond our comprehension would drive your brain beyond its abilities.

    I found the ending kind of lacking though, it worked but seemed too unreal to continue with the last scenes unless he was somehow dreaming it or had somehow died.

  6. Going on with what Brandon said, I believe that when we reach that point of understanding, our mind pushes back against comprehension. But when we reach that point, that threshold of crossover, I feel as if the revelation itself is like its a weight lifted. I found that Aronofsky portrayed that buildup and anticipation really well. The aftermath left me locked in and wanting more, and something left me feeling as if anything is possible.

  7. The soundtrack to this movie is brilliant. I love how Darren Aronofsky uses Clint Mansell in a number of his movies. The vibe given off by the orchestra really makes you connect with the movie.

  8. This movie really engages the viewer. It takes all sense of time and seems to either mesh it up or just disregard it, making the viewer pay attention to every detail and question almost everything. It also spurs ideas about the universe, how it works, and how it relates to the number of pi.

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