Though many might believe that Mutek is simply about music, a big part of it is the visuals. Almost all of the music comes partnered with visuals. A marriage of the two art forms.
In that vein, for their 20th edition Mutek featured a special screening of the Darren Aronofsky film, mother! It was not just any screening, but one at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This version was created by a New York City based audiovisual collective called Little Cinema. It was shot inside of a house which was hexagon shaped. As the viewer you are “within” the film with it being around you 360 degrees.
I’ll start off by saying that this is a film unlike anything else you will see. So unlike it is hard to describe in words. Not sure I even understood what happened here. What it was about. And, in my opinion, that is not a good thing. Sometimes films are not about anything concrete they are just how they make you feel. All I felt during the two hours of the film was perplexed. Not really sure what I was watching. Even beyond arthouse.
Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) has always examined the darker side of life. His films are always layered and complex. This one is non-linear and filled with crazy stuff. Disturbing at times. And neither the director nor the story help you understand what is going. You definitely are not spoon fed. But my argument is one of whether you are being fed at all.
No argument can be made that this is not a work of art. It is. Of the rather high browed variety. Mr. Aronofsky certainly has a vision. A strong one is involved in all his films. He is one of the more unique and talented young directors we have working today. That being said, not all of his films are meant for large audiences.
Most will find all the different ideas/concepts being jammed into one film one after another is too much. Way too much. Makes it all…and I am going to use a highly technical term now…gobbledygook. Is it because he is looking to make high art or because Aronofsky has no clear direction. He is lost in the very woods he has created. Is is about motherhood? Religion? God himself? Being male vs. female? Madness? Pregnancy? Psychodrama vs. fantasy? Does not instil confidence in the viewer, does it?
My biggest problem with the film is that there is no humanity in it. No human at the center. Nothing for me to cling to. Nothing for me to involve myself in. No lifeboat in the storm. The inherent gender inequality which wrecks everything that happens between men and women is an interesting nugget in the huge mess happening here. It is not expounded upon very much. Then it is wrapped in religion….then how humans have wrecked this planet is delved into…too much! Stop!
On the surface you might think that this is a film about a couple, Mother (Jennifer Lawrence – Winter Bone, The Hunger Games) and Him (Javier Bardem – Skyfall, No Country For Old Men), whose relationship is tested when a strange couple, Man (Ed Harris – Apollo 13, Gravity) and Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer – Dangerous Liaisons, Batman), arrives at their door.
Little by little chaos begins to enter Mother and Him’s lives. Or at least so it seems. In actuality, things seem to be getting better for Him as his wife spirals downwards. Him even begins to write again. The attention and surrounding chaos seems to be feeding his ego while Mother, who is newly pregnant with the couple’s first child, doesn’t like the lack of control and that people seem to be invading their refuge from the outside storm.