Never one to make a safe movie, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky wasn't surprised when his latest film Mother! was both cheered and booed when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival last week. As the dust settles, it's being tipped as an Oscar frontrunner.

Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Barden star in 'Mother!'Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Barden star in 'Mother!'

"Most people, after they see the film, they don't even want to look at me," Aronofsky laughs. "But I don't care if they cheer or they freaking boo, as long as they react. This film is like tossing a hand grenade into pop culture! It's a cruise missile shooting into a wall. Surrealism is very rare nowadays, and it's interesting how many people don't remember that all movies are living, waking dreams."

Clearly a personal project, Mother! is an allegory about creation on a variety of levels. "All I can ever do is express how I'm feeling at a moment," Aronofsky says. "This is definitely different than anything else out there right now. For anyone who has an appetite for that, we'll try do to our best to serve up a delicious meal!"

Watch the trailer for 'Mother!' here:

The writer-director says that this project came together more quickly than other films that require years of planning. "I had the idea for it,," he says, "and then I had these five days off and I just sat there and I banged out this 90-page version of it. It just poured out of me in an unconscious fever. And then we got Jennifer Lawrence attached and it all started to move."

He then spent three months rehearsing with his cast, including his girlfriend Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. "I wanted to see the actors work with this material," he says. "As a film director, at least for me, my favourite part is when I get to work with the actors. But I get to do so little of it. I get maybe 40, 50 days when I shoot a movie every two, three years. So this way I got another three months, and I had delightful actors, so it was not painful in any way!"

But of course there's plenty of pain on-screen, as Aronofsky puts his characters through all kinds of misery (see also Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan). "I believe that in looking at the darkest parts of ourselves, that is how we see the light," he admits. "Tragedy is an art form and I find it very cathartic. So I do it to all my characters. Both men and women. I'm not gender specific!"