Autism Through Cinema

Pi (1998) dir. Darren Aronofski

June 11, 2021

Aronofsky’s first feature film is discussed in terms of its closeness to autistic meltdown, an affect that appears rarely in film, driven by the character’s fascination with patterns, a propensity for maths as the language of the universe and a magical number. Computers feature heavily in the film, debated as either a potentially problematic alliance between autism and automatism, or possibly autistic attention to the material world and its many capacities. The film’s ending proves controversial: does it suggest that lobotomy is the only way to end suffering for Max, that there is no place in this world for neurodiversity?

Discussants: Georgia Bradburn, Janet Harbord, David Hartley, Alex Widdowson.

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