Requiem for a Dream at 20: Aronofsky’s nightmare still haunts

The auteur’s bold and brutal 2000 adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr’s cultish novel about addiction remains an indelible and shocking act of provocationI was 17, and just beginning university, when Requiem for a Dream descended on cinemas like an opaque, bruise-blue mist.

Notwithstanding the no-under-18s restrictions stamped upon it by stern censors in the UK and elsewhere, I like to think I was the optimal age for it.

Darren Aronofsky’s addiction drama may be cross-generational in its focus, but with its unremittingly punishing storytelling and frenzied, all-systems-go cinematic energy, it represents a very young person’s idea of how a very adult film looks, sounds and spasms.

I loved it, even as it followed me through a tertiary arts education to the point of overkill: its poster gracing umpteen friends’ dorm rooms, its Clint Mansell/Kronos Quartet string theme – and its countless remixes – soundtracking all manner of student theatre pieces and presentations,

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