Pi

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Synopsis

Maximilian Cohen (Sean Gullette) believes that life can be deciphered through numbers. When faced with predicting the stock market, Max has one problem; overcoming a mysterious cabal, sidestepping Wall Street opportunists and conquering his debilitating hallucinations. Will Sol, Max’s only confidante, help his mission, or will Max’s downward spiral spell his doom?

Steeped in cult film lore, Pi is a piercing science fiction that derives its frantic nervous energy though an affinity with Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo the Iron Man (1989) and Tokyo Fist (1995), and within American TV and cinema ranging from Rod Sterling’s The Twilight Zone to David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977). The film’s eccentric intensity is tied with a strong allegiance to narrative driven storytelling wrapped in cryptology.

A result of an eight-month long intense collaborative workshop between Aronofsky, Gullette and Eric Watson (the film’s producer), Pi has become one of the most important debuts in American independent cinema. It bucks filmmaking convention despite its production limitations and shoestring budget of $60,000, grossing over $3 million in the box-office. With its audacious symbolic title and the mysterious atmosphere it conjures, Pi remains one of the quintessential films to the initiated and still discussed by cineastes today.

Despite being his first feature, Pi is already indicative of Aronofsky’s bold and singular approach in cinema. It features exhilarating experimental visuals by cinematographer Matthew Libatique, who has become a long time collaborator for Aronofsky’s subsequent features. Libatique worked with a meticulous set of rules devised with Aronovsky, including only shooting over Sean Gullette’s shoulder when framing other characters. This resulted in iconic claustrophobic point of view perspectives – an experiment in subjective immersion in cinema. It also features a pulsating score by Clint Mansell, who has gone on to work with Aronofsky on many projects.

This audacious debut feature earned Darren Aronofsky the Directing Award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and the Gotham Open Palm Award. In many ways, Pi is a blueprint for Aronofsky’s subsequent body of work, both in its thematic concerns and his approach in filmmaking. It is an urgent and primal execution of cinematic flare, an award-winning debut that unforgettably overturns the Land of Hopes and Dreams into a gritty, poisoned odyssey.

Credits

  • web-12-aneveningwithdarrenaronofsky-director Born in Brooklyn, Darren Aronofsky studied live action and animation in Harvard, and earned a Masters in Directing from the American Film Institute. His visionary auteurship has been affirmed by multiple wins in the festival circuit, and box office success. His standout film Black Swan (2010) was nominated for an Academy Award in 2011.
  • Eric Watson
  • Darren Aronofsky
  • Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman
  • Lionsgate / Kathryn Ikenberry - kikenberry@lionsgate.com

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