The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - MICHAEL BODEY

IF only there were a way to quan­tify how DVDs have sus­tained the creative side of the busi­ness. Sure, the for­mat has rein­vig­o­rated the busi­ness side of moviemak­ing, broad­en­ing its au­di­ences and rev­enues, but what about the film­mak­ers and the ac­tors?

Dar­ren Aronof­sky, di­rec­tor of one of this month’s DVD re­leases, The Foun­tain, re­alises the for­mat has broad­ened his au­di­ence and pos­si­bly made him a more suc­cess­ful di­rec­tor than if he’d merely re­lied on cinema suc­cess.

His first film, Pi, was a dar­ling of the fes­ti­val cir­cuit, but a re­lease most of us would have seen on DVD. The Foun­tain, star­ring Hugh Jack­man and Rachel Weisz, is a po­lar­is­ing film that is sure to have a strong life on DVD.

‘‘ A lot of peo­ple didn’t get the op­por­tu­nity to see it on the big screen and I think a lot more peo­ple will get to see it on DVD,’’ he says. ‘‘ That’s al­ways hap­pened with my films. No one saw Re­quiem for a Dream and Pi in the movie the­atre, but I think most kids to­day or most peo­ple in their 20s have seen Re­quiem be­cause of DVD.’’

Aronof­sky ap­pre­ci­ates that is the way many see films to­day, par­tic­u­larly films that ‘‘ take a lit­tle bit more time to dis­cover or are out­side the main­stream’’.

His films are cer­tainly that. If you thought Re­quiem for a Dream was trippy, wait un­til you see The Foun­tain, a med­i­ta­tive me­an­der across 1000 years and three dis­tinct sto­ries cir­cling ex­is­ten­tial­ism. De­spite hav­ing Jack­man as its lead, in his most com­plex screen per­for­mance, The Foun­tain was never go­ing to be one of the films that broke box­of­fice records on its open­ing week­end. But it has found as many ad­vo­cates as crit­ics and thereby will likely go on and on in its DVD life.

The film’s pac­ing re­calls Ter­rence Mal­ick’s work in The Thin Red Line and The New World, a com­par­i­son with which Aronof­sky is more than happy. The Thin Red Line is a film peo­ple still seem to dis­cover years af­ter its re­lease.

‘‘ The New World, I thought, was one of the great films of the [ past] 10 years and no­body saw it,’’ he says.

‘‘ That’s a movie that needs time to get dis­cov­ered in the the­atre, but you don’t get that op­por­tu­nity any more, you’re ba­si­cally hav­ing to do these crazy num­bers or the film dis­ap­pears the next day.’’

So, too, with Aronof­sky’s films. He laments not liv­ing when films were given a chance to find their au­di­ence in cin­e­mas, but ‘‘ it’s a very different world now’’.

‘‘ The re­sult of that is you have a bunch of boys run­ning around in tights, that’s our cul­ture these days,’’ he says.

That said, Aronof­sky has found a niche as an en­gag­ing vis­ual and au­ral stylist. But The Foun­tain is ar­guably half the film it might have been given the orig­i­nal star, Brad Pitt, jumped ship seven weeks be­fore it was to shoot on the Queens­land Gold Coast. Cate Blanchett and Aronof­sky were stranded.

The di­rec­tor even­tu­ally moved the project on, al­beit with a much re­duced bud­get.

‘‘ You find the way to make it and, be­lieve me, the money I did have to make it was more money than I’d ever had be­fore,’’ he says. ‘‘ I don’t think the films would be that much different, the essence of each was the same. But there’s a lot of Aussie crew out there who were in­ti­mately in­volved with the film and I’m cu­ri­ous to hear what they felt. I think they would have felt it was sim­i­lar to what we were try­ing to do there.’’

* * * DISC WATCH: Te­na­cious D in the Pick of Destiny ( Road­show, MA15+, $ 29.99). This is what they call in the trade a ‘‘ flawed com­edy’’. Jack Black and his mu­si­cal part­ner Kyle Gass were given carte blanche to cre­ate a mu­si­cal com­edy when all they needed was a cou­ple of sketches. To their credit, they pack the DVD full of ex­tras. bodeym@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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