[contextly_auto_sidebar id=”C9NSdernwV8X41Rw5BV3m3kxC3W8iYky”] THE movie Noah was directed by one of the most talented filmmakers of my generation. He can also be one of the most erratic. I got to hang out a bit with Darren Aronofsky about a decade ago when he was following up his debut, Pi, with Requiem for Dream. He had a reputation even then for being difficult and stubborn, but he came across as funny and full of ideas. Here’s how I began the story:
As a kid in Brooklyn, Darren Aronofsky used to steal into Manhattan, taking the D train across the East River to sneak into movies such as A Clockwork Orange and Eraserhead. These were R-rated, and he was still 15 or 16. “They were films,” he says, smiling, “you weren’t supposed to see.” A decade and a half later, now established as a promising writer-director, he makes movies for those same restless young people.
More on his roots:
Aronofsky describes his Brooklyn neighborhood, Manhattan Beach, as looking like the row houses in the credit sequence of All in the Family. The director grew up the son of two teachers in this Jewish and Italian enclave next to Brighton Beach and two miles from Coney Island. As a kid, he had no special interest in making movies and was drawn instead to black-and-white photography and, by high school, to writing “angst-filled teen-age prose.” He was neither a cinema nut nor a bookworm. But other influences developed. A friend’s older brother introduced him to The Twilight Zone when he was 10 or 11, which played after midnight. “Every single Wednesday,” he says, “I’d set the alarm to wake me up at 12:15 and sneak down to the TV and watch it without my parents knowing.” While other kids in school did biographical reports on Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln, he put one together on Rod Serling.
My whole profile is here. ALSO: The strange tale of San Diego Opera continues to twist. This story by KPBS gets into more detail than I’ve seen yet on how we got to this strange point, with the group announcing its closing out of the blue. There’s now some sense, thought, that the opera could survive: An all-day meeting has resulted in a vote to suspend the closure for two weeks, with hopes of raising enough money. FINALLY: Christopher Knight’s review of MOCA’s Mike Kelley review is here. The review confirms my hunch that a lot of the work on display had never been shown in Los Angeles. And this one turns out to be significantly bigger than the exhibit’s stop in New York.