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Coney Island Film Fest to honor Darren Aronofsky this weekend

The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s time to get your celluloid freak on!

Celebrating a decade of proud impertinence, the Coney Island Film Festival promises to bring 90 unconventional flicks to the people’s playground beginning on Sept. 24 — then flip everything on its head and honor Hollywood-entrenched Brooklyn-born auteur Darren Aronofsky.

Yes, it’s a contradiction, especially since Aronofsky may helm the big-budget “X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2” next year. But its still oddly in line with the gritty, “I don’t care what you think” pluck that’s defined the festival, and Coney Island, for so long.

“It’s amazing we’ve lasted 10 years this way,” marveled festival Director Rob Leddy. “We’ve never been as uptight or as snooty as some festivals. We’re more laid back and embrace the vibe of the whole neighborho­od.”

As always, Coney Island’s famed and faded amusement area will be showcased. There are more than a dozen films dedicated to its unique beauty, history and controversial revitalization (or Disneyfication, according to some). Offerings include documentaries “Last Summer in Coney Island,” about the neighborhood’s current transformation and “Last Night in Astroland with Jimmy Prince” which examines how the famed amusement park’s closure affected longtime patrons.

But it’s not going to be all fun and games … or non-fiction.

In what’s become a festival tradition, the violent cult classic “The Warriors” will be screened to a host of fans who will sport gang vests and scream out lines from the film.

Aronofsky’s dark drug abuse drama, “Requiem For A Dream,” which was filmed in Coney Island and Brighton Beach, will also be shown.

Afterwards, Dick Zigun, the unofficial mayor of Coney Island, will name Aronofsky as the festival’s 2010 honoree for his “independent spirit” — even if it’s waned a bit.

“Hey, the guy went from a big Hollywood film like ‘The Fountain’ to the smaller Indie flick ‘The Wrestler,’ ” explained Leddy. “You’d be hard pressed to find any working director that can stay completely Indie these days.”

The Coney Island Film Festival at Sideshows by the Seashore [1208 Surf Avenue at West 12th Street in Coney Island (718) 372-5159], Sept. 24-26. For a list of films and show times, visit www.coneyislandfilmfestival.com.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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