Black Swan

February 24, 2011 at 4:53 am | Posted in Film Review | 1 Comment
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I went to see Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan the other week and found it intense.

This is not a ballet movie. It starts out like most ballet movie, with some very nice dancing and the obligatory pointe shoe scene. But, the movie is about one woman’s descent into madness. Had I know this before hand I think I would not have gone – I prefer less depressing and shocking subjects and story lines. The film and Natalie Portman do an excellent job of portraying a ballerina’s mental breakdown during a production of Swan Lake. Ballet and the Swan Lake story merely provide the backdrop.

Natalie Portman reportly spent six months preparing for the role by taking daily ballet lessons. She appears to have done much of her own dance work, and most certainly helped her fit into the part of Nina Sayers – a dancer chosen to play the parts of Odette/Odile in her company’s new production of Swan Lake.

The Film turns the focus of Swan Lake on its head, usually Swan Lake is decribed in terms of the Prince. Instead, the story revolves around the Odette/Odile – white/black swan – perspective. In the film, the artistic director is confident that Nina can portray the Odette, but is not sure that she can portray the darker Odile.

It is the artistic director pushing Nina to access something within herself that is outside her normal controlled emotions that drives Nina slowly mad.

The Film is so well done, that in the last third, I was not sure what was real and was was Nina’s projected self-delusions. The audience not so much sees Nina’s descent into madness, but accompanies her. It got a bit much for me at times.

If you like intense pyschological films this is for you.

The film is an R16, and there are some graphic scenes between Nina and another ballerina. I wondered and still wonder if they were strictly necessary. It is certainly not a film youtake enthusiastic 10 year old ballet pupils to. Nina is shown throwing up, starving herself, and enduring the kind of workplace bullying from the artistic director (dramatically played by Vincent Cassel ) that in any other workplace would lead to court action.

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  1. […] went to this film was because it was by Darren Aronofsky – I liked Black Swan. What was he going to do with this biblical […]


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