Chris Youde is a local celebrity of sorts, at least if you're in my age range. It's a rare occasion where I run into someone in the Cedar Valley who doesn't know him, who hasn't gone to one of his shows, watched one of his short films, or read one of his angry diatribes against law enforcement in the local paper. An enthusiastic movie-watcher, Chris' dearest love is music, and he has shown exceptional potential as a composer, both of soundtracks and music for its own sake. Chris is also a member of the National Rifle Association, though he voted for Cynthia McKinney because he found it funny. And if you're looking for someone who knows every conceivable publicly available detail about Metallica, then he's your man.
Chris' selection is "Requiem for a Dream," Darren Aronofsky's 2000 film which takes us on a harrowing journey through the lives of substance abusers.
When you hook up any video device, you plug in something for the sound and the picture. “Requiem for a Dream” is a perfect example of how great care can be taken for these elements to make a beautiful movie.
The subject of addiction is something we all have to deal with. All of us have dreams of being something more than what we are and yet there are so many distractions/road blocks that get in our way. “Requiem for a Dream” shows how a majority of us deal with addiction and its devastating effects. My favorite shot in the movie is when Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) is cleaning her apartment in a time lapse fashion, brilliantly revealing how the character’s decisions have resulted in their downfall. It took roughly 30 minutes for director Darren Aronofsky to get that shot. It also took timed lighting to give the effect of a day going by, which on every viewing caused me to consider how the medium can be cleverly manipulated to craft a story.
For years films have mercilessly overused MTV-style cuts for a shallow effect. Yet Aronofksy employs them to devastating effect, combing them with a jarring soundtrack that plunges the viewer into the world of addiction. Combined with countless bizarre sound effects, Clint Mansell’s score makes you feel like you’re on these drugs the characters are using. The complexity and variety of this soundtrack is stunning, as we go anywhere from the Kronos Quartet wailing out the powerful main theme to floating on a simple cello line to the shirking notes of the tragic ending.
The reason I watch it over and over is not just for the fact that it’s a marvelous piece of art but to remind myself to keep my own impulses in check, living life carefully in order to avoid these drug-addled people’s grisly fate. It reminds me how powerful movies are, and with every viewing the impact grows. - Chris Youde