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TIFF Report: Darren Aronofsky Makes A Playlist From His Favourite Music Moments In Movies

The Red Bull Music Academy (yep, that’s a thing) hosted director Darren Aronofsky for an unofficial TIFF chat where the filmmaker talked about how music has influenced his work. Aronofsky grew up in Brooklyn during a time when two major (and very different) musical movements were emerging: hip hop and disco. Both genres had an effect on him—but so did musicals, art rock, and… the Mickey Mouse Club? Needless to say, Aronofsky’s tastes are eclectic. Just don’t try to get him to listen to Taylor Swift. Here are some of the songs that had an impact on his movie-making career:

The Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive”

The opening song in Saturday Night Fever, “Stayin’ Alive” plays as John Travolta cruises around his New York neighbourhood like he owns it. The film was the first R-rated movie Aronofsky’s parents let him and his sister watch and it sparked a heated breakfast table debate between the siblings about the enigma that is oral sex.

Public Enemy, “Fight The Power”

The title sequence in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing featured this song with Rosie Perez (shout out to The View!) busting some serious moves to it.

West Side Story’s “Officer Krupke”

Aronofsky admits to being a fan of musicals—so much so that he had trouble choosing just one song to share. He chose this one because his son loves it and because the choreography is so flawless.

Talking Heads, “Heaven”

We don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Jonathan Demme made the best concert film ever when he directed The Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense. If you can name one that’s better, we’ll give you a cookie—but you should know that we have Darren Aronofsky on our side.

Guns and Roses, “Sweet Child of Mine”

All we’re going to tell you about this one is that Mickey Rourke had to make some sort of deal with Axl Rose in order to get Axl to allow this song to be used in Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. Pray for Rourke’s soul.

The Mickey Mouse March

Is there a filmmaker alive who doesn’t worship Stanley Kubrick? Certainly not Aronofsky, who shared the final scene from Full Metal Jacket as one of the last songs of the evening. Not a creepy way to wrap things up at all.