terça-feira, 16 de outubro de 2012

"Pi", Darren Aronofsky`s Masterwork: The Truth Made Flesh

Pi is an independent mathematical sci-fi thriller that pushes the envelope of the most controversial ideas of life itself, broad religion versus mathematics and order. In this film a brilliant number theorist, Maximilian Cohen, teeters on the brink of insanity as he searches for an underlying meaning of an elusive numerical code that is said to bare the secrets of the universe. Max lives in Chinatown, New York in a dark, claustrophobic apartment that is wall to wall consumed by his homemade super computer cleverly named Euclid. Cohen, a factual character, who to this day is continuously itching at the wonders of the meaning of pi, is played by Sean Gullette. In the film Max quotes his assumptions: "Mathematics is the language of nature. Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers. If you graph these numbers, patterns emerge.
Therefore, there are patterns everywhere in nature." This philosophy is as delicate as any. Some believe in fait and chance, while others, like myself, construe a hypothesis that there is logical reason hidden behind everything in life, and that somewhere down the road there is eventually a simple cause and effect to any hurdle our universe can toss in front of us. The well known Chaos Theory, which supports ideas such as: Monsoons in Hawaii can inadvertently be caused by a slight pressure change from a migrating butterfly flapping its wings in Japan, is the standard that Cohen chooses to base his solitary, paranoia consumed life as he searches for a pattern in the most complex chaotic system known to man, the stock market. Max uses this man made "organism" as his data set.
As he grows closer to an omega truth, he is haunted by sociological handicaps, the very problems that every human suffers day to day. In one corner, an attractive neighbor symbolizes everything warm and caring, attempting to advert Cohen from his rigorous practices and bring him back down to earth. In another, he is the cat killed by curiosity, being plagued by vigorous migraine attacks caused by looking into the sun as a child. In yet another corner, he is harassed by two cliques representing everything materialistic: stockbrokers attempting to conquer the monetary market and Jewish mystics who believe a 216 digit number stumbled upon by Maximilian is the true name of God, leading to ultimate divinity. Throughout Max's attempted journey of anonymity, the director, Darren Aronoksy, uses many subtleties to capture Cohen's world of genius, anxiety and torment. This use of symbolism is commonly used in the movie and plays an important role in the portrayal of Pi. Euclid, his computer, along with Sol, his mentor and only trustee, in a way symbolizes Max's inevitable future. As they both grew closer to answer the unknown, they began breaking down, both catching a bug and eventually terminating themselves amidst great discovery. The closer Cohen grows to conquer his goal of affiliating a logical equation with the spiral and everything around us, the more it wears on him. He eventually realizes this and ironically "removes" his genius with the very drill he used to construct Euclid, to live a more surreal life.
In a demented way this represents how we are our own enemy, and have to defeat a part of ourselves to overcome obstacles. Another key artistic aspect for creating the world of p is its use of sound effects and music. Pi opts to depend solely on the use of futuristic electronica sound environments, composed by Clint Mansell. This is territory that has only been crossed by one other film, A Clockwork Orange, also musically inspired by Mansell. The correlation of the music in relevance to a particular scene is vital for setting the mood. All the scores are original pieces envisioned by the director and later perfected by the sought after musical artist. For instance, while Cohen is on the edge of discovery, the tempo grows faster and the tones more precise. This puts the audience on the edge of their seat as if they were on the verge of a breakthrough of their very own. While Max is in a state of flux or query, however, the music itself appears to ask a question with each flowing note.
If Maximilian is being interrupted by a pesky computer bug, the score trickles along like a minute ant and then throbs in an uproar of frustration and rage. Aronofsky also innovates a particular music theme aptly named "hip-hop" to coincide with reoccurring montages, such as moments of enlightenment, episodes of mass drug consumption and headaches. In hip-hop Aronofsky uses a flowing sequence of sounds and multiple short-framed pictures that, when pieced together, reflect a rhythm that transports the viewer into the realm of repetitiveness that Cohen must square up to day after day.
This can be calm and slow as he is thinking and watching is computer or quick and direct as the sound effects and screen shots of him popping pills and injecting morphine franticly pushing him forward in attempt to ease the pain. As depicted in Max's psyche, repetitiveness can be a powerful medium. This is another skill of directing endorsed by Darren Aronofsky. For example, many migraine sufferers are alerted of their upcoming headaches by numerous symptoms. In Cohen's case, it is a severe twitching of his thumb.
Once he starts jittering you cannot help but quiver for the upcoming thumping bass lines overlain with shrills reminiscent of a banshee that digs the viewer deep into Max's headache consumed cerebrum.
Immediately following the actual pain, Max enters a brief moment of hallucination, preceded by a nosebleed, and then a black out followed by a state of euphoria caused by heightened levels of dopamine. This sequence is repeated time and time again.
The concentration of this repetitiveness is so powerful it almost strikes as a warning, teaching one to ignore the temptations of curiosity. An act young Max succumbed to once he looked into the sun.
The director also takes advantage of the style of film itself. Pi is entirely featured in an extremely high-contrast black and white picture, at many times with little or no middle gray colors relevant.
Although it is entirely black and white, the clarity and sharpness of the picture dives down to the lowest and highest definition flawlessly capturing the status quo of Max's sanity. During Cohen's times of confusion and hysteria, the director chooses to inconspicuously capture the mood by shooting with a grainy chaotic picture.
Yet while Max is in control, or enlightened, the picture is extremely smooth and clear cut. Also, Aronofsky administered a new technique of filming perfectly apprehending Max's separation from the world around him. He devised a harness to attach a camera directly to the actor while he is running, called the snozzi-cam.
This feature mobilizes the actor while the environment around him twirls frantically, further putting the viewer into the characters point of view. Using such drastic, influential artistic measures often eludes the fact that all the ideas in p are factual, but the glue that holds the film together, the syntax between the lines, all came from "plagiarized" facts from textbooks and bibles.
In the end, after Maximilian Cohen is reconciled and returns to his place of enlightenment, I envisioned the closing scene being filmed in true color picture to induce one of the most powerful finales in film history, when it did not, I was briefly disappointed. Later to be engulfed with content realizing that nothing is perfect. To succeed, to overachieve, sometimes we must sacrifice other aspects, such as rogue scientist, Maximilian Cohen, in Pi.

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