Taking a Look Back at the Films of Darren Aronofsky on His 45th Birthday

Darren Aronofsky once said, “I’m Godless. I’ve had to make my God, and my God is narrative filmmaking.” And in the church of cinema, for many, the 45-year-old director ranks high on the list of worship. As one of the most psychologically enticing and visually minded filmmakers working today, he creates haunting worlds full of desperate and passionate characters clinging to intangible ideals. As intelligent as he is artistic, Aronofsky’s films come alive through his wonderful knowledge of how to tell a story through dialogue and images, but also characterized by the his ear for music and the help of composer Clint Mansell.

And as today marks the 45th birthday of Aronofsky and his famous petit mustache, let’s take a look back on some of his best work with behind-the-scenes clips and favorites from his amazing soundtracks.

Behind the Scenes: Requiem for a Dream

Aronofsky’s nerve-wracking and chilling sophomore feature about the mutual existence of addiction and psychosis and how love crumbs in its wake. Brilliantly directed, shot, edited, acted, and scored, the film takes us through four leading characters as they fall prey to delusion and reckless desperation. With music that feeds its way through your veins, there are few films who possess such cohesion of sight and sound. Ellen Burstyn was nominated for an Academy Award for her frightening performance as a amphetamine-addicted, lonely older women who becomes obsessed with the idea of appearing on a daytime talk show.

Soundtrack: Requiem for a Dream

Behind the Scenes: Black Swan

Aronofsky’s beautifully dark and sensual psycho-erotic horror thriller. Revolving around a production of Techaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the haunting doppleganger tale is told through a ballet dancer who loses her mind after gaining the lead role of the delicate White Swan. Aronfsky saw the film as a companion to The Wrestler, both surrounding demanding physical performances in various forms of art.  The film won Natalie Portman a Golden Globe and Academy Award with nominations for Best Director, Editing, Cinematography, and Best Picture.

Soundtrack: Black Swan

Behind the Scenes: The Wrestler

Aronofsky’s gritty and painful film of desperation and redemption. A deeply moving portrait of a man at his last end, the film tells the story of an aging wrestler attempting to cling to his past success and failing health while trying to mend a stain relationship with his daughter. Mickey Rourke took home a Golden Globe for his immersive performance as did Bruce Springsteen for his heartbreaking original song.

Soundtrack: The Wrestler

Behind the Scenes: The Fountain

Aronofsky’s romantic fantasy drama that serves as an amalgam of history, religion, and science fiction. Compromising of three story lines, we see the actors play different sets of characters entwined in themes of love and mortality. The visually stunning and hallucinatory film that spans over a thousand years won Clint Mansell a Golden Globe nomination for his stunning and encompassing score.

Soundtrack: The Fountain

Soundtrack: Pi

Aronofsky’s surrealist debut feature, the psychological black and white thriller first introduced him to audiences as visual and narrative force. Centering around a man whose obsessive pursuit of an idea leads him into a spiral of self-destructive behavior, paranoia carries the film as he searches for a key number that will unlock the universal patterns found in nature. The film won Aronofsky a Gotham, Independent Spirit, and Sundance award.

Get a First Look at the Epic Soundtrack for ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

With less than a month until the release of the Derek Cianfrance’s highly-anticipated family epic/crime drama/triptych melodrama The Place Beyond the Pines, we’re finally given a brief tasting of the film’s amazing soundtrack. Done by fantastic weirdo Mike Patton, the multi-monikered musician whose music Cianfrance has loved for years, his experimental and haunting compositions—filled with from brooding metal fright to synthed-up church organs and a unique vocal style—have been a part of such musical projects as Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, and most recently, Tomahawk. Alongside Patton, a great list of musicians from Bruce Springsteen to Bon Iver and Ennio Morricone will be featured on the soundtrack.

Out digitally March 26 via Milan Records, you can pre-order the album on Amazon. In addition, you can receive a physical copy of the album April 9 and a 180-gram LP may 9. Film Music Reporter has provided us with the details and an original track from the album titled “The Snow Angel” as well as the full album tracklist:

1. Schenectady
2. Family Trees
3. Bromance
4. Forest of Conscience
5. Beyond the Pines
6. Evergreen
7. Misremembering
8. Sonday
9. Coniferae
10. Eclipse of the Son
11. The Snow Angel
12. Handsome Luke
13. Please Stay – The Cryin’ Shames
14. Miserere Mei – Vladimir Ivanoff
15. Fratres for Strings and Percussion – Arvo Part
16. Ninna Nanna Per Adulteri – Ennio Morricone
17. The Wolves (Act I and II) – Bon Iver

Upcoming Hurricane Sandy Benefits Shows From Aziz Ansari, Neil Young, Grizzly Bear, and More

If you still want to help out East Coasters affected by Hurricane Sandy and do so in an environment with adult beverages and high-caliber entertainment, this week, a couple more enticing Sandy benefits have been announced. So if you’re looking for something to do next week and live in the greater New York, Atlantic City, or Los Angeles areas, here you go.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse will perform in Atlantic City on December 6th at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, with proceeds going to the Red Cross.

On December 10th, a group of comedians you might recognize are getting together for “We Hate Hurricanes,” a night of comedy to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy at L.A.’s Nokia Theater. The venerable Jon Hamm is emceeing the event, with headliners Aziz Ansari, Will Ferrell, Sarah Silverman, and music from Beck along with even more acts. All proceeds from the show will go to AmeriCares, and pre-sale tickets go on sale today; general sale starts tomorrow.

One of the biggest announced shows is the 12/12/12 benefit gig for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, on December 12th at Madison Square Garden. The headliners play like an all-star Super Bowl halftime show: Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, The Who, Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, and, of course, Bruce Springsteen. If you still want to help out and rock out but the idea of a Bon Jovi show at the Garden sounds a bit too overwhelming, New York’s Terminal 5 is hosting a “4Artists1Cause” benefit on December 14th, featuring performances from Grizzly Bear, Sleigh Bells, Antlers, and Cults. More acts will be announced soon. Tickets are $40, with proceeds going to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City

Don’t Worry: We Will Get That Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert We Deserve

What’s a national tragedy without an overlong, saccharine television program full of famous people looking sad about people less fortunate than them? While the lower half of Manhattan is still without power, parts of Staten Island and Queens are disaster areas, and the Jersey Shore is nearly washed away, there’s only one thing that will bring joy to the hearts of those affected by Hurricane Sandy: BILLY JOEL SINGING LIVE ON CAMERA. 

Everyone’s favorite frequent drunk-driving piano man will be just part of the celeb-heavy bill, produced by the good folks at NBC. Per the New York Times:

NBC Universal said on Thursday morning that it would show a one-hour telethon and concert on its broadcast network and cable television stations on Friday night to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The telethon, “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together,” will be held at NBC’s Rockefeller Plaza studios and hosted by Matt Lauer, the co-host of “Today.” Among the musicians who are scheduled to perform on the telethon are Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Sting and Christina Aguilera; Jimmy Fallon, the host of NBC’s “Late Night,” and Brian Williams, the anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” will also appear.

The telethon will be shown simultaneously on NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy and USA, and streamed live on the NBC.com Web site. It will be broadcast live from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time for the East Coast and on a tape delay for the West Coast. NBC said that money collected from the telethon would be donated to the American Red Cross.

Yes, that’s right: if you tune in to Syfy you can still see someone famous sing "God Bless America" while, I dunno, you could be lucky enough to pledge a donation to Julia Roberts on phone duty. EVERYTHING IS SUDDENLY BETTER. I guess it’s a bummer for the regular Syfy audience who’d rather see Tiffany and Deborah Gibson battle a mutant shark or something.

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

London To Paul McCartney, The Boss: Shaddup!

Just because you are an international icon doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the rules. That’s what Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney learned when they had their mics cut out onstage on London last night after the Boss’s concert went past its 10:15p.m. curfew. Shit, and people think Bloomberg runs a tight ship.

Springsteen played to a crowd of 65,000 London’s Hyde Park on Saturday night with his E Street Band and Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello. Towards the end of his set, he brought McCartney out onstage to sing Twist and Shout and I Saw Her Standing There, as fireworks went off the the background. But at 10:40p.m., before the musicians could thank the crowd, the mics went dead.

Concert organizers reportedly didn’t want to get bopped for violating the license for the event. London is strict about noise complaints, especially in the posh Hyde Park neighborhood.

Guitarist Stevie Van Zandt tweeted about the incident, putting it succinctly: "[W]hen I’m jamming with McCartney don’t bug me!"

Bruce Springsteen Crashes Crowd, Chugs Beer at Concert

How cool is The Boss? During his concert with the E Street Band  in Philadelphia on Wednesday night, Bruce Springsteen made his way into the audience during a performance of "Raise Your Hand," eventually popping a squat in a vacated seat. He was then offered a half-drank beer from a female fan. So what’d Springstreet do?

He chugged the entire thing and then, without missing a beat, continued on with his performance, naturally.

Bruce Springsteen: Busy being cooler than you since 1949. [via The Daily What]

Watch Springsteen, Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips, Jackson Browne & More Cover Woody Guthrie at SXSW

What’s a Bruce Springsteen show without an all-star sing-a-long? Last night at SXSW, the Boss followed up a warmly-received keynote speech with a performance at the Moody Theater, accompanied by the E Street Band. At the end of his set, he brought a ton of famous friends on stage — Tom Morello, Alejandro Escovedo, Eric Burdon, Arcade Fire’s Regine Chassagne and Win and Will Butler, among them — to close with a cover of Woody Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land," one of the most "we’re all in this together" songs ever laid down. Consequence of Sound recorded some video for our viewing pleasure, which you can hit after the click.

Morello gets on the mic around the 4:00 mark and makes a bunch of dorky finger-pointing gestures, which is just great. The Guthrie-sharing spirit was all around at SXSW: The day before, The Flaming Lips and Jackson Browne covered Guthrie’s "Along Sun & The Rain," accompanied by some iPads. (It’s a weird world we live in.) Watch that one below, courtesy of Stereogum.

SXSW ends on Sunday, fun for everyone stuck at home following the coverage on Twitter. If you’re up for more man-on-the-beat perspective, remember to read the rest of Sara Romeo-White’s coverage for BlackBook as it comes through the wire.

Jay-Z To Join SxSW With Live-Streamed Concert

If he performs with South By Southwest Festival keynote speaker Bruce Springsteen, the skies will open and the economy will fix itself. But unlike The Boss’ address, Jay-Z’s just-announced South By show at the Austin City Limits Theatre is part of the interactive portion of the festival. On Monday, March 12th at 8pm EST, Mr. Beyoncé Knowles will take the stage for the "Amex Sync Show," an American Express promotion-cum-interactive gig that will be live-streamed for all us little people who can’t be at the festival on YouTube, VEVO and a billboard on 6th street. The event will be promoting Amex’s Sync service, and card users will supposedly be able to sync their cards to Twitter to get into the show and tweet requests. Although tweeting may be better than shouting them out, lest Hov pull a Bradford Cox

Last year, Hov made a surprise appearance at the G.O.O.D. Music Showcase at SxSW alongside buddy Kanye West in an event which featured the likes of Pusha T, Mos Def, John Legend and a whole lot more. Rumors of how he will outdo himself have begun to surface, including one that Eminem will be joining him for the show. 

Not to be outdone, Billboard announced Wednesday that Lionel Richie would be joining their showcase, which also features Poliça, Wallpaper., Vintage Trouble and R&B wizard The-Dream. If there’s a Dream-Lionel Richie collaboration to be had there, then that’s reason enough to go. All night long, all night. 

Watch the throne…er, trailer… for Hova’s SxSW concert: 

Afternoon Links: Fiona Apple Reveals Album Title, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Quit Acting

● Fiona Apple’s new album, due out sometime in June, will be titled: The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do. Yes, in the grand Fiona tradition, all 23 words of that. [Pitchfork]

● The Olsen twins have to bid adieu to their acting careers. "It doesn’t mean I’m not interested in Hollywood," explains Ashley in this month’s Elle. "I like the way it operates, I like the people who are involved and the sense of possibility. But if I ever get back in, it’s not going to be as an actress." [HuffPost]

● Radar is reporting that Lindsay Lohan enjoyed a "night of passion" with Terry Richardson and has been driving him crazy with text messages and phone calls ever since. Surprise? [Radar]

● TLC has cancelled its at times controversial All-American Muslim after just one season, even after it recieved mostly postive reviews from critics and religious leaders alike. [Detroit Free Press]

● Jon Stewart gets down and dirty with Bruce Springsteen with a long interview in Rolling Stone this month. [RS]

● Today in pregnant, very pregnant, and the most pregnant: Snooki debuts her bump, Hilary Duff’s jokes about her very hairy pregnancy, and Jessica Simpson "pulls a Demi" on the cover of Elle. [Us / FunnyorDie / PageSix]