At the end of an amazing weekend with amazing friends, quality food and a bunch of movies – both good and bad (by bad, I mean very bad! ) choices – somehow all I remember is the Black Swan.
Black Swan is the latest masterpiece of Aronofsky – the director of Requiem for a Dream – starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis. I’m not sure about how to classify this movie. I guess you can call it a psychological thriller with a slight touch of a dark horror movie which leaves you emotionally drained at the very end. What do you get when you mix ballet, Swan Lake, Natalie Portman, a breath-taking thriller, jealousy, revenge and 40 amazing costumes designed by Rodante?
Set within the highly competitive and prestigious world of a New York City ballet company, the story revolves around a production of Swan Lake. Nina, an emotionally immature and fragile perfectionist still lives with her mother in New York City’s Upper West Side. When the company’s director, Leroy, decides to retire the aging star, Winona Ryder, to find a new soloist for the upcoming production of Swan Lake, Nina seems to be a perfect fit for the timid and innocent White Swan. But to get the part, Nina must also be able to play the dark, sensual and seductive Black Swan – a role that seems rather suitable for the company’s newest member Lily. Despite his misgivings, Leroy gives Nina the role, sensing within her some kind of wildness hidden beneath her calmness and timidity.
As the opening night of the Swan Lake gets nearer, the pressure on Nina gets heavier. What begins as a simple state of mind that could be explained by a stressful job and a repressive mother soon takes the form of a much darker psychosis – Nina begins to hallunicate, seeing her face on other women, indulging fantasies of self-mutilation, and grows paranoid that Lily, recently assigned as her alternate, is conspiring to take her part. When the two compete for the part, Nina finds a dark side to herself. As she gets into a darker psychosis, she is dancing the Black Swan better and better.
Black Swan is a beautifully disturbing movie. Aronofsky, mostly somewhere in between madness and genius in his movies, goes into deeper complexity with Black Swan. Not only you ask yourself questions while you are watching it, but it gets stuck into your mind for some time after you finish it as well. It is beautifully shot. While Aronofsky shows the physicality of the ballet – straining limbs, torn ligaments, bloodied feet – there is a constant nervous energy by the cinematographer’s follow shots. The sound editing is similarly claustrophobic, amplifying Nina’s every rasping breath or compulsive scratch of skin. In addition to all these, Natalie Portman, surprises with a bravura performance.
Black Swan is the best film I’ve seen for a long long time. I couldn’t get my eyes off the screen – couldn’t stop asking myself questions while I was watching Nina losing sight of herself. The 108 minutes were dark, obsessed, paranoiac and tense. But left me hypnotized and fulfilled. Nina transported me into another world. This movie was the most artfully acted and visually stunning movie of the year. The drama, scenery, costumes and music were genius… the casting was truly magnificent. It did not make me feel good or make me smile – but certainly that was not the intention.
Go see it. Experience it.
On another note – If you’re more interested Rodarte’s Behind the Scenes for Black Swan, you can check the article on Interview Magazine.