Happy Pi Day!

That’s right: for all you numerologists and baked good enthusiasts out there, today was 3/14, known in nerd circles as Pi Day. (Tomorrow, by the same token, is the Ides of March, or the 2,055th anniversary of Julius Caesar’s assassination.) To celebrate, it’s best to either eat a pie of your choice—I, for example, adore the French silk variety—or sit down to a random viewing of Darren Aronofsky’s film debut, Pi (1998). It’s a hyper-paranoid, high-contrast, apartment-bound thriller. In short, it’s Black Swan with numbers.

I’m not kidding. Aronofsky’s body of work is impressively consistent. Pi’s nebbishy hero Max (Sean Gullette) works just as hard to be perfect, and pays just as much for it, as Black Swan’s Nina. Max may not have an invasive mother or an imagined archrival like Lily, but he does have one faction after another bugging him on street corners, begging (and more) for his numerical secrets. All these poor Darren Aronofsky characters! You just want to give them a big hug.

A final note while I’m discussing Aronofsky: it’s interesting to see how prominently Jewish identity looms in his work. It’s rarely foregrounded, like it is in the works of the Coen Brothers or Woody Allen; so far as I can tell, the Hasidic rabbis in Pi are the only obvious example. But look at Sara Goldfarb and her friends in Requiem for a Dream or, curiously enough, the fact that all four female leads in Black Swan have Jewish backgrounds. What can we glean from this (admittedly strained) connection? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime, let’s break out some rhubarb pie (mmm!), some forks, and have at it.

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