Director: Darren Aronofsky
Screenwriters: Darren Aronofsky

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


First-time writer/director Darren Aronofsky has crafted an intense, hallucinogenic, and extremely adept exploration into the world of independent science fiction. Depicting one man's obsession to construct a theoretical, numerical order out of chaos in an attempt to decipher a pattern to both the stock market and existence as a whole, he has launched a sense-numbing expedition that simultaneously complies with and defies expectations of science-fiction cinema.

In a world of stark black-and-white imagery, Maximillian Cohen (precisely portrayed by Sean Gullette), a brilliant but troubled young mathematician, has converted his surroundings into a labyrinth of technological gadgetry which constitutes a supercomputer named Euclid. Together, they are on the verge of decoding the key to order in both the material and spiritual worlds. This discovery inevitably attracts factions from each world intent on having the information. An aggressive Wall Street firm attempts to enlist Max as a pawn in their drive for financial domination. As he dodges their persistent efforts, Max is drawn into an ultrareligious cabalistic sect which hopes to use his research to unlock the mystical secrets of their holy texts. The closer he gets to the answer, the more he is plagued with nightmarish headaches threatening his sense of reality.

Without expensive special effects,  instead uses innovative cinematography and perfectly conceived music to construct both the paranoid world and fanatical fascination of one man’s quest for absolute knowledge. Aronofsky has masterfully fused mathematics and theology to create an eerie sci-fi world lying somewhere between Stanley Kubrick and Rod Serling.

Darren Aronofsky, Director
Darren Aronofsky, twenty-eight, ws born and raised in Brooklyn and is a product of the public school system. He went on to study live-action filmmaking at Harvard University. His senior film, Supermarked Sweep, was a 1991 Student Academy Award National Finalist. In June 1994, Aronofsky received an MFA in directing from the American Film Institute.  is his first feature film.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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