Today the focus is on incredibly talented directors : Stanley Kubrick & Darren Aronofsky, who both give us a a feeling of madness in our cinematographic experience.
The shining (1980)
Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, this film is with no doubt one of the most iconic horror films of all time. It addresses insanity as a product of alcohol. There is no denying Kubrick’s glorious cinematography and creepy vibes are genuinely effective. Jack Nicholson gives one of the best performances of his career as the mentally unhinged Jack Torrance, whose alcohol addiction and short temper slowly make him fall into madness, and convince him to kill his family.
Still as haunting as it was after its initial release, The Shining is a film which is a study more on things that lead to insanity, than insanity itself.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Last but not least, A Clockwork Orange associated with a violent revolution in cinema, is set in a dystopian near-future Britain and follows the narrator and juvenile delinquent, Alex, as he, merrily indulges in his hobbies of ‘ultra-violence’ along with his gang. These pastimes eventually catch up with Alex, placing him on the other end of the brutality of an experimental state treatment for misbehavior, almost fatally, a vengeful victim before he’s finally compensated by the government, perversely, for his suffering.
Was this film so controversial because of all the sex, the violence or the fact that it makes you sympathise with a sociopath/rapist?
A Clockwork Orange works on every level : emotional level leaving the audience feeling disturbed, a technical level with the scenes and music and a philosophical level with the questions it poses. The power of this movie will never fade, and what is intriguing that while disturbing at some moments, it is incredibly funny in others. The humour is black and very absurd. The statement it makes is about the freedom of humans beings. It’s art at it best.
Not crazy enough for you? Here’s a great video pointing out the ten most insane directing decisions Kubrick has made throughout his career. It also makes us wonder : where is the line between genius and madness?
Black Swan (2010)
Directed by Darren Aranofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassell, 2010’s Black Swan is a tense psychological thriller that revolves around the Swan Lake Ballet.
A dark and disturbing story, it witness the demise of the main character’s mental well-being due to the pressure the role in the ballet performance has her put under.
Nina’s psychosis collapses as she struggles to differentiate between reality and fiction. Sickening hallucinations leave her disoriented and disturbed and as the opening night of the world’s most famous ballet looms, anarchy and confusion pursues her, and the film ends with an unsettling but beautiful climax. Black Swan is a heavily draining yet captivating film that contains an Oscar-winning performance from Natalie Portman.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bright and charming high-school student who also has a dark troubled and eccentric side : he is occasionally visited by the monstrous bunny rabbit that manipulates him to perform dangerous and destructive pranks.
From weird visions of Frank, the six-foot rabbit that only Donnie can see, to “the end of the world” and an engine of a jet aircraft that crashes Donnie’s bedroom, this film will give you one of the most bizarre experience. Above all, it has a kind of magical flow from the very first moment, and you just go with that flow and let yourself be drawn into that Aronofsky’s world. The story unfolds like a dream and the ambiguity help create an absolutely unique and strangely compelling atmosphere.