Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky
USA, 2010
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel

Swans -

With Black Swan (2010), Darren Aronofsky has come to defining his own directorial style, and shows to be more refined in comparison to his previous films 'The Wrestler', 'Requiem for a Dream'. 
The film skillfully illustrates the constant fight of light and dark, good and evil, within the eternal strive for perfection, poetically embodied within the character of the ambitious ballerina.A prestigious and almost cut-throat ballet company is a fitting environment in which primal and carnal motives surface quickly. Nina Sayers, Natalie Portman, is picked by Vincent Cassel as the prima ballerina in which to play the swan queen. The film draws upon abstract notions of the classic ballet 'swan lake', but Aronofsky rather than focusing on the romance and tragic ending of the lovers, dwells upon the idea of good and bad being in constant turmoil and this can only cease in the freedom provided by death. Like the prince in the ballet of swan lake who chooses Odette to be his queen. In the classic version of the ballet Odette is betrayed by the evil witch Odile who masquerades as her in the flesh. Nina sayers finds herself in a similar situation but perhaps in a more abstract form finding her in competition with her replacement Lily, Mila Kunis, which only threatens her position as swan queen but also enhancing the pressure placed upon her to perfect her performance.
Perhaps cliched, I thought it quite clever that Aronofsky chooses to make Nina such a virginal and pure character- and quite Freudian to make Nina's mother so apparent and such an obstacle to her struggle for identity, aim and artistry. Its obvious that Nina must cut the umbilical cord that connects her to her mother and that also prevents her for experiencing and pain or emotion of which she can bring into her dance. As Nina becomes desperate to do so, so do we, and we share her frustration but we observe that it has become a sickness- and this sickness slowly takes over her body- with the appearance of dark feathers (evil taking over).  But like Odette, Nina has the same romantic and tragic ending. Her prince, Cassel, disbelieving of her talents and doubtful of her passion for her dance, in her final performance is finally entranced and recognizes her plight for magnificence. She achieves it, finding through pain (and consequently death) the balance to achieve perfection and love, becoming his 'little princess'. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and find Portman's performance worthy of a Golden Globe, (I have my fingers crossed for an Academy Award!)...

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