cinnamonswirl

"Black Swan"

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It had to happen, but so soon? The real-life relationship of the key players discussed on these boards - BM and NP - showed up as a Jeopardy answer and question today!

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Well, just seen it. And I am real glad I didnt spend cash on a ticket, I saw it with DD at home. We renamed the damned thing "The black turkey" - well, that just about sums up my opinion and hers as well. We were in perfect agreement that we had never seen a worse movie - bad in all respects.

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I didn't see this mentioned here yet, but apparently Aranofsky started off conceiving of THE WRESTLER and BLACK SWAN as a single movie.

http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/08/31/darren-aronofskys-black-swan-and-the-wrestler-started-as-one-movie/

"At one point, way before I made ‘The Wrestler,’ I was actually developing a project that was about a love affair between a ballet dancer and a wrestler, and then it kind of split off into two movies. I realized pretty quickly that taking two worlds like wrestling and ballet was much too much for one movie. So I guess my dream is that some art theater will play the films as a double feature some day."

-goro-

:ermm: Unfortunately, I just saw "Black Swan" on DVD (or fortunately since I could fast-forward through some of the dreck and boring stuff). Based on Aronofsky's comments in the special features section of the DVD, he's changed his tune or is further elaborating (making it up as he goes along :wink:) on what inspired him to make the film. He says on the DVD that he was interested in Dostoevsky's story "The Double," and then when he saw "Swan Lake" at the ballet shortly after reading "The Double," a :lightbulb: went off in his head. In other words, he thought Odette/ Odile and the ballet as backdrop would be a great way of exploring the concept of "double." Well, then, :lol: he failed miserably. To me, with Kunis' character vs Portman's Nina vs the vicious black swan trying to get out of her, DA is depicting more of a weird ridiculous psychotic idiotic triangle (or quadrangle if you throw into the mix the has-been Ryder character). The director DA fails to explain why or what the masturbation and oral sex scenes have to do with developing either his theme, or the characters, perhaps because those scenes were just salacious add-ons to titillate the audience and the mostly male filmmakers. Okay, par for the course with Hollywood filmmaking. The Black Swan makeup, the computer special effects and the piggy-backing on a classic is all this film is about(without the filmmakers understanding anything at all about "Swan Lake" or ballet history, or ballet dancers or ballet companies, and probably not anything about Dostoevsky either).

Natalie Portman is a competent actress, but not a great actress the likes of Nicole Kidman, Annette Bening, or even Michelle Williams (if the Oscar voters, as they usually do, wanted to give an Oscar to a hot young actress, it should have been given to Michelle for her role in "Blue Valentine," in my opinion). The really funny thing to me is that Winona Ryder (who is also a competent, but not great actress) played the over-30 ballerina ditched in favor of the nubile supposedly frigid chick, Nina Sayers. In fact, that's pretty good casting, since Portman reminds me of the young Winona Ryder: a well-connected, way over-rated hot young Hollywood actress.

In regard to the body double controversy: Sarah Lane has as much right to voice how she feels, as the director had to make this schlocky film. I don't blame Sarah for speaking her mind, hopefully she's learned that it's not personal but just how Hollywood works. It's pretty obvious they downplayed the fact that Sarah did all of the dance scenes in wide shot with actual dancing on pointe -- with Natalie's face tracked in via computer. This is obvious in the features on the DVD, but no effort is made to fully explain this or focus on it in any great detail, so its easy for average audience members to be misled as to how much actual dancing Natalie does. I don't think Sarah spoke out because she wants to be a star, or she wants publicity, but just that she expected to be more fully credited for her dancing, which was one of the better things about the film, let's face it. :flowers:

Yep, black turkey, indeed!

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-goro-

I don't blame Sarah for speaking her mind, hopefully she's learned that it's not personal but just how Hollywood works. It's pretty obvious they downplayed the fact that Sarah did all of the dance scenes in wide shot with actual dancing on pointe -- with Natalie's face tracked in via computer. This is obvious in the features on the DVD, but no effort is made to fully explain this or focus on it in any great detail, so its easy for average audience members to be misled as to how much actual dancing Natalie does. I don't think Sarah spoke out because she wants to be a star, or she wants publicity, but just that she expected to be more fully credited for her dancing, which was one of the better things about the film, let's face it. :flowers:

Yep, black turkey, indeed!

I agree with you about the movie. I think the other reason Lane spoke out was that she felt that the pre-oscar PR heavily implied that Portman through weight loss, and hard work became the equivalent of a professional ballet dance in a year and a half. I think that Lane felt that this was an insult to dancers and mislead the public in terms of what a real dancer looked like.

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Yes, vipa, I agree with many of yours and others views of the film posted earlier. One poster referred to the fact that the film was packing people in, especially "young men" probably through "word of mouth." :smilie_mondieu: I guess, 'nuff said, since there are those salacious "wet dream" scenes, which I'm sure the young men were much more interested in than anything to do with ballet or "Swan Lake".

For everyone who complained about posters criticizing the "Black Swan" for not accurately portraying ballet. Oh well, I think the problem is that ballet tends not to be a subject mainstream films focus on very often, and when they do, its all usually stereotypical nonsense. So yes, movie fans who are also ballet fans are often very disappointed because maybe we hope against hope to see something of quality and at least with some depth whenever ballet is the backdrop or main focus of a mainstream film. As one poster said earlier, we will have to rely on documentaries or the real thing. Or else become filmmakers ourselves and do ballet justice in our own fictionalized ideal.

Another poster, Sandy McKean, I believe spoke about enjoying the psychological aspect of an artist crossing the line in the effort to truly portray a character -- the dangerous problem of staying in control of who you are but letting loose at the same time. That is a very interesting problem that can be a hazard of the acting profession specifically. However, as most posters have indicated in detail, this film fails on all levels. There is no attempt to fully examine this psychological aspect in an interesting or truthful way. The characters have no realistic motivation or growth. It is just a stereotypical, schlocky mess for the most part, unfortunately. The only thing that made the Barbara Hershey character's scenes worth watching was Barbara Hershey's acting. I liked Vincent Cassel's acting as well -- he did the best he could with that unforgiveable, one-dimensional stereotyped character.

That scene which Portman refers to in her Golden Globes acceptance speech where Cassel's character asks Millipied's character that question about whether he would ***k Portman's character was absolutely embarrassing in my opinion. And doubly embarrassing for Portman to mention it while accepting an acting award. The reason it's embarrassing is because Portman's character (not to mention Millipied's) are so underdrawn; the audience feels no connection to them, so there is no real impact or payoff or interest in the question being asked. You have to do a double take to figure out why it was asked in the first place. And the fact that the two people playing the characters are actually involved with each other romantically... :huh: Oh well, maybe it was Aronofsky's attempt at illustrating verisimilitude. :dry:

Nikolaj Hubbe, recently interviewed by the LA Times, when asked directly about "Black Swan" gave his opinion: "I think it's the worst piece of hideous crap I've ever seen," he said. "I just thought it was scintillatingly awful. I think it was clichéd. I think it was pseudo. I think it was cheaply done. It was just dumb. Like, was everybody just completely empty inside their heads? Dumb." Thank you, Nikolaj. :clapping:

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Welcome, to Ballet Alert, LuvMrB. Many of us here agree with the sentiment expressed by your screen name. We also love Mr. B.

The quote from Hubbe expresses with refreshing directness the feelings of many of us.

P.S. It was wonderful, this weekend, to attend a performance of Swan Lake Act III by Harid Conservatory students in which a graduating senior, Amanda dos Santos, performed a striking and fully realized Odile and NOT to to over-hear a single person in the audience bring up the topic of the movie. Gosh! the ballet, well-danced, really does stand on its own.:wink:

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....Its most apparent "cousinage" is with Roman Polanski's "apartment trilogy".... Repulsion, in particular, features a lead character who, like Natalie Portman's character in Black Swan, starts out mentally ill and only goes downhill from there.

Overall, I thought the acting in this movie was very strong. Natalie Portman gives a forceful performance as the deeply troubled Nina and she sustains it over the course of the entire movie -- no mean feat.....

At the end of the day, I don't think Natalie Portman's character will deter anyone from letting their child pursue ballet as Nina is blatantly mentally ill. Truthfully, I think more people may be put off by the relentless black/white/grey color scheme at the ballet company. If I were a parent and I saw this movie, I would ask (not unreasonably) -- don't they allow color in the ballet??? :wink:

Aronofsky mentioned the "Repulsion" connection during the early stages of the publicity campaign, but even if he hadn't the resemblance would be difficult to miss. Portman's childlike mien and enormous eyes are reminiscent of Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby" - it was hard for me not to think of "Black Swan" as a sort of "Rosemary's Tutu." Aronofsky is talented but in this film he's not much more than a Polanski manque. He has visual style and "Black Swan" looks great but there's no sense of dread and as the movie careers off the rails it induces giggles, not chills. He also lacks Polanski's empathy for his terrified young women; Deneuve and Farrow are tormented but you don't have any sense that their director is getting off on the torment. With Aronofsky I wasn't so sure.

Still, one of the most interesting movies I saw last year and it seems to have given ballet a very nice boost,probably not for long but welcome nonetheless. I also liked Clint Mansell's score. Barbara Hershey's performance deserved more attention than it got. She matches up well with Portman and she scared me silly.

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Congratulations to both of them.

Does anyone have the special DVD package? Is it worth acquiring?

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Just adding a quote from Robert Greskovic's recent (6/29/11?) review of ABT's "Swan Lake" where he applauds them for hopefully educating audiences that the story is not the same as "Black Swan"['s],

"...notion of a nutcase dancer who is driven by an ignorant and pompous director to think of herself as a demonic waterfowl."

:rofl:

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Ballet Arizona Principal Dancer Paola Hartley will speak at the Arizona Psychoanalytic Society in, "Black Swan: Film and Psychoanalysis". Her presentation is called "A Dancer's Perspective on Performing Odette/Odile in Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake'".

She speaks at 11:45am on 17 September at the Courtyard Marriott, Scottsdale.

http://www.arizonapsychoanalyticsociety.com/blackswan.html

(Thanks to BA for posting this to their Facebook page.)

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