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Requiem For A Dream

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Kelly Mercer

on 16 May 2012

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Transcript of Requiem For A Dream

To understand the ideology and agency behind the film, the first thing we need to do is look at the title, and what it means. Requiem A requiem is a song for the dead dream. So "Requiem For A Dream" is interpreted as a "song" for a dead So what is this so called dream that the title talks about? Many agree that it is the American Dream, and this dream varies between the four characters. Harry's "American Dream" is to be rich
He believes that wealth will lead to happiness. So he and Tyrone hatch a "get rich quick" scheme - start selling heroin, eventually saving up to get a pound of pure which they can then sell for a large sum, leaving them well off for a while. The problem with Harry's dream is that in the process of trying to fulfill it, he causes problems for those that he loves. Harry Goldfarb In order to get money to fuel his dream and his habit, he steals and pawns his mother's television set on a regular basis. To get enough money to start dealing, he coerces his girlfriend to go on dates with the psychiatrist she occasionally sees and ask him for money. Dealing starts off well that for Harry and Tyrone, and they begin getting a large profit Harry's downfall begins when things go wrong. Tyrone is placed in jail and bail must be paid, Harry splurges on a television set for his mother. As fall sets in, it becomes harder for the two to find heroin they can sell We see the failure of Harry's American Dream at the end of the film. He is stuck in prison, with his arm amputated due to his own carelessness, and Marion gone. Tyrone C. Love Tyrone's dream is to stop living life on the streets. He hopes that through his and Harry's plan, their partnership will be beneficial and they will be well off enough that Tyrone will stop having to live a dangerous life. For Tyrone, the beginning of the end of his dream is in a scene where he is negotiating a drug deal and is witness to a shooting between the italian drivers and the black drug dealer. Tyrone is then subject to jail time, and when he and Harry head south and are thrown in jail, he is continually subject to racist guards who treat him poorly because of his skin color. Tyrone does not fulfill his dream of living off the streets. Instead, his dream is crushed as he is thrown into an environment even worse off than earlier in the film. Marion Silver Marion's American Dream is to be happy. Of the four characters in the film, Marion displays the most addictive tendencies. She shows a great deal of desperation when it comes to getting drugs, willing to stoop to new lows in order to attain this "happiness".


She also shows greater signs of withdrawal than the others, often more desperate to get high when there is no heroin. heroin. Marion handles things differently than the other characters as well. She utilizes her own agency as a woman and uses her sexuality to achieve her dream. When Harry needs money to start dealing, she seduces and sleeps with her psychiatrist. She shows shame about what she has done, but gets even more desperate later in the film, engaging in sex shows for Big Tim when there seems to be no other means of obtaining Technically, Marion is the only one in the film to truly achieve her dream, in a sense. At the end of the film, she has what she wants, which is more heroin. On the surface, she seems happy that she can finally foster her addiction. But the degradation and shame involved in getting the heroin causes her to be repulsed by herself. It isn't quite clear if Marion feels regret over how low she has sunk, but regardless, she degrades herself to be a sex object, becoming subject to the drug and to Big Tim. Sara Goldfarb Sara is not a heroin addict like the other characters, however her downfall is probably the most tragic.

Sara has two dreams. She wants her son Harry to be successful and she wants something to live for. Harry's success is beyond Sara's control, and thus is never a dream quite fulfilled, though she is deluded into thinking that he finally gets onto his feet when he comes to visit She begins trying to lose weight to fulfill her new dream of being able to fit into the red dress she wore to Harry's graduation Sara finds something to live for when she is offered the chance to be on television. She spends a great deal of her time watching television, and this offer gives her a reason to live Sara begins taking prescribed amphetamines, given to her as a form of diet pills. When they stop working as well, she begins mixing them, inducing hallucinations. This is where Sara loses her agency. She is neurotic and helpless, delusional about being on television and no longer in control of her own mind. She has become a slave to the drug that was meant to aid her. She begins the film as a relatively healthy woman, and ends as a shell of her former self. Knowing all of this, we can apply the various ideologies of each character to the agency they have and they agency they lose Harry loses his agency to his own cockiness. He gets too confident and too sure of himself, and this gives him the notion that he can do anything. When things turn south, he loses the agency that he had. Tyrone loses his agency because of his race. He is beaten down and oppressed in the end of the film, and has no agency, solely because of the color of his skin. Marion utilizes her agency as a woman, but in the end she loses her agency to others. She allows herself to be degraded, and the power of her addiction overcomes her own agency. Sara relinquishes any agency she has to other people or substances. When she begins her diet, instead of doing it the more "difficult" classic way of dieting, she gives up her agency and gets diet pills. She then loses her agency even more when the diet pills begin having drastic side effects, eventually making her mentally unstable. In the end, the film's goal is to show the tragedy of the American Dream, in that it goes unfulfilled. It also shows the way addiction affects a person, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. A technique Aronofsky utilizes throughout the film is short, rapid cuts, which he refers to as "hip hop montages" So what is the point of these? How do they contribute to agency? Three ways: Keeps the viewer on edge. The rapid cuts mean one needs to pay close attention in order to "keep up" Often scenes with these montages are followed by a much slower paced scene. This shows the juxtaposition between the desperate need to get high (the rapidity of the cuts) with the effects of heroin (slower and calmer) It shows how addiction to drugs makes the action of actually doing them into a routine On the surface, Requiem for a Dream seems to be a typical movie showing the negative side effects of drug abuse. But this is not what Aronofsky wanted to portry with the film Aronofsky's goal is to show the failure of the American dream. He shows that the ideology behind it is inherently unattainable, and that chasing after it is pointless He also shows that the inherent flaws in this ideology will inevitably lead to a loss of agency. By letting the ideology of the American Dream take precedence over necessities, each character loses their agency in some way, because they were deluded into thinking they could attain the unachievable. The most depressing part of this film isn't necessarily the way the characters are portrayed, or the way it shows how drugs destroy lives. The bleakest part of the film is the underlying message that Aronofsky tries to tell the viewer; that even though we are raised in a society where we are told we can do anything as long as we dream it and work towards it, actually striving to achieve this "American Dream" is a lost cause, and anyone who thinks otherwise is doomed to fail.
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