Widely known for his thought-provoking and intelligent filmmaking, Darren Aronofsky is one of the most acclaimed movie directors in the world. His films are noted for their surreal, melodramatic, and often disturbing elements based in psychological horror. Aronofsky's love for cinema developed relatively late in life and he did not consider a career in filmmaking until he was a student in college. In 1998, Aronofsky made his directorial debut with "Pi," a black-and-white psychological thriller. The film was made on a budget of $100 donations from his friends and family members. Aronofsky won the Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival for the film, which eventually made more than three million dollars.
His follow-up effort was the award-winning adaptation "Requiem for a Dream." He went on to write and direct some of the most controversial films in recent years. His first major film was "The Wrestler," which had several performers nominated for Golden Globes and Oscars. Notably, Aronofsky is also an environmental activist and his concerns for environmental issues have been reflected in his films such as "Noah" and "mother!” The uncompromising filmmaker is the recipient of both the Humane Society of the United States’ and PETA’s Humanitarian Awards and serves as a board member of both The Sierra Club Foundation and The School for Field Studies.
Aronofsky's career can be traced back to his student days at Harvard University. His voracious appetite for knowledge led him to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1987, where he studied a wide range of topics in the liberal arts, including film. Looking back, Aronofsky credits his experiences at Harvard with stoking his dormant interest in filmmaking, leading to several film awards after completing his senior thesis film, “Supermarket Sweep,” which went on to become a National Student Academy Award finalist. He graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Anthropology.
Although the filmmaker keeps a busy schedule, he is still on very good terms with Harvard. Over the years Aronofsky has sat down with The Harvard Crimson (the daily student newspaper run entirely by Harvard undergraduates) to give one-on-one interviews. The interviews allow members of his alma mater a peek behind the Hollywood curtains, while also providing Aronofsky a chance to reminisce about his student days. In one 2000 interview, for example, he admitted that while at Harvard he "couldn't pass" any classes there. "So I switched to Social Anthropology, which is an easy major, because I didn't have the balls to tell my parents I wanted to be an arts and crafts major." Later in 2006, Aronofsky echoed these sentiments in another interview with the Crimson, but this time added a caveat to the student interviewer who was lamenting their own class schedule at Harvard.
"Do not complain," the legendary filmmaker said, waxing nostalgic. "Enjoy it. It's the best time... I wish I could go to class now."