cinnamonswirl

"Black Swan"

288 posts in this topic

It's supposed to be set in New York, so I wonder if they'll get City Ballet dancers as extras, the way they did for Center Stage.

Other than that, it sounds like it's going to use the NYCB as a backdrop and not focus too much on it. I'd think it's more a Thriller that just happens to take place in NYC... with a charcter who happens to be a dancer.

cinnamonswirl, I have the impression that NYCB is associated in some way - perhaps it's the protagonist's home company?

Pennsylvania Ballet writes on its Facebook page (emphasis added by me), "Black Swan, the ballet thriller starring Natalie Portman and featuring our dancers, will open the Venice Film Festival! It's set to hit theaters later this fall."

Share this post


Link to post

:smilie_mondieu: Ugh! and Why? Why? Why?! Are all narrative films of ballet about (to quote 'perky') "mentally unstable, backstabbing shrews"?! Do I want to see another film about that NO! Not particularly. I am SOOOoooo sick & tired of 'same old, same old' storylines in most Hollywood films about ballet, and the occasional forays into fantasy land of Broadway-to-Hollywoood adaptations!

(I have the same questions concerning "Titanic" films: Why are they always about poor boy/girl vs. rich boy/girl?!)

:wallbash: Is there NOBODY with any sense of history or reality left in Hollywood?! Or sensitivity to classical (vs. modern, contemporary, abstract etc.etc.)arts? It's like some continuous blind spot: the writers don't know anything about the reality or mentality of artists/classical musicians/dancers lives and thoughts (Hollywood etc. is too caught up with explosions and chase scenes), so these writers fantasize every stereotype/cliche they think they know into their scripts, and then the producer-directors, despite hiring a few experts to advise, slavishly bow to the bean-counter 'suits' or glitz-meisters of La La Land to excize anything that could be "so slow/boring" as an intellectually stimulating discussion or normal reactions/actions.

I thank all gods that Mr. Wiseman and other documentarians exist for their efforts to show the reality of dancers' life and work. At least most docs I've seen demonstrate that, though they may have a few issues like the rest of the human population, dancers are disciplined, determined, sensitive and generous people. (FYI: Mr. Wiseman will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award this year from the Aademy?--Gee it only took them nearly 40+ years to wake up and realize how deserving he was!)

APOLOGIES to ALL for the rant. :tomato:

(BTW: I am, of course, very glad Katherine Bigelow won the Best Director Academy Award, but I'm still waiting for the day the Academy powers-that-be award a woman director for making an epic of ideas, rather than an action pic. Until they give a Best Director award to a film without a single explosion, chase, or F-word, I will never trust anyone there to have read anything other than a comic book.)

Share this post


Link to post

I just looked at a photo (on the website of the New York Post in the Entertainment section) of Natalie Portman in her tutu and makeup for Swan Lake. Her posture in the photo looks nothing like the posture of a ballet dancer, in my opinion.

http://www.collider....an_image_02.jpg :dry:

Say again, what was the title of the film? Black 'Coon?

(edited to add)

Don't misunderstand me. Ms. Portman is one of my favorite actresses since Léon. She is also a very smart individual with notable scholarly achievements.

Also I desperately pray for Ms. Portman not being a forum member. If she is, then :clapping: and :flowers:.

Edited by sunday

Share this post


Link to post
According to Wikipedia, ABT's Sarah Lane was Portman's dance double for "Black Swan". Interesting choice...

From what I've seen of Lane's dancing, I imagined her as a potential Giselle or Lise rather than Odette/Odile.

I tend to disagree, but you credit the production team to think that such subtleties would be important to them. I suspect they were more concerned with general body type and facial bone structure, a close look-alike who, with the help of soft focus, the right lighting and good makeup, would be virtually indistinguishable from the non-dancing star.

All good points, carbro. I think Vishneva would have made an interesting double for Portman, but I'm sure filming around her schedule would have been insane. In any event, I'm looking forward to seeing Sarah Lane onscreen, and ballet-themed films are such a rarity that I shouldn't quibble about casting.

Share this post


Link to post

I just looked at a photo (on the website of the New York Post in the Entertainment section) of Natalie Portman in her tutu and makeup for Swan Lake. Her posture in the photo looks nothing like the posture of a ballet dancer, in my opinion.

http://www.collider....an_image_02.jpg :dry:

Say again, what was the title of the film? Black 'Coon?

Raccoon is good, but I was thinking along the lines of "Zorro - as you've NEVER seen him before!"

Share this post


Link to post

From the waist up, she looks all right (well, ok, the makeup is weird, like the Apprentice in "The Cage", but that's bugs and not birds; and what's with the hands being blacked?), but the lack of rotation of the thighs spells nondancer in ALL CAPS! Better had they cropped the photo at the bottom of the tutu.

Share this post


Link to post

From the waist up, she looks all right (well, ok, the makeup is weird, like the Apprentice in "The Cage", but that's bugs and not birds; and what's with the hands being blacked?), but the lack of rotation of the thighs spells nondancer in ALL CAPS! Better had they cropped the photo at the bottom of the tutu.

Leaving the amusing raccooning behind, perhaps the intention of the photographer is just not to have a typical ballet pic and make a metaphor about the character's inner conflicts.

He may have wanted to show the depths of the character. Ballerina from the waist up, but another thing from the waist down, like she is a feisty, aggresive woman used to fight for what she wants. Then, Dirac's comment makes much sense - that leg position is, almost, the one of a left-handed fencer en garde.

Of course, I could be talking without rhyme or reason, as it is known to have happened before. :angel_not:

Share this post


Link to post

Looks like this swan made her nest in some fresh black tar.

Share this post


Link to post

From the waist up, she looks all right (well, ok, the makeup is weird, like the Apprentice in "The Cage", but that's bugs and not birds; and what's with the hands being blacked?), but the lack of rotation of the thighs spells nondancer in ALL CAPS! Better had they cropped the photo at the bottom of the tutu.

Well said. I also think the lack of support of the arms is a giveaway. It is hard or perhaps impossible to make a non-dancer look believably like a dancer. It's funny that the headline of the article says "Natalie Portman Sports Stunning Ballerina Makeup in New 'Black Swan' Stills." Ballerina make-up indeed!!

I understand that Maria Riccetto was a dance double for Maria Kunis. Frankly I can't wait to see the movie.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm wondering if the makeup and tutu is for a dance sequence?

The Zorro mask would help to make it harder to tell the switch from Portman to Sarah Lane. Of course WE could but what about the general audience?

I too think the photo should have been cropped at the waist level.

Share this post


Link to post

Hollywood is so formulaic in how they do films. Not only is it stereotyping on steroids, but is driven by how to make tons of money. Not very different from most endeavors, but the arts seems to at least seem to have a loftier purpose. Movies from Hollywood are meant to entertain the largest audience possible and so they will used whatever they can to drawn them into the theatre such as star power and the usual themes of murder, jealousy, lust and so forth. The public never seems to tire of the same story repackaged constantly in different contexts, genres, eras, with the latest collection of box office draws,

With this in mind, don't expect much from a Hollywood (or any commercial) movie which used ballet as the genre. The up side for ballet is that perhaps some people might be inspired to take a closer look at it and discover what draws ballet lovers in. If that happens and it ultimately helps more companies survive and prosper, or inspires some new talent it will have served a noble purpose without this as being the intent of the writer or directors and certainly the studio.

It never ceases to amaze me how we humans can spend so much time involving ourselves with the same story told over and over again. Of course, for lovers of the classic arts, we are no different going again and again and again to see the same ballet, opera, play or painting. I suppose the reason has to do with subtlety, nuance, interpretation, perfection, vision etc. Ballet lovers lower your expectations when Hollywood has used ballet as a vehicle.

When you want to have a true ballet experience, go to the real deal or a documentary.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm wondering if the makeup and tutu is for a dance sequence?

The Zorro mask would help to make it harder to tell the switch from Portman to Sarah Lane. Of course WE could but what about the general audience?

I too think the photo should have been cropped at the waist level.

Wiith a dance substitute, you don't need to have any special knowledge of ballet to know when the double goes into the game, sometimes even when the shot is very brief. It will be especially obvious if the dance excerpt goes on for any meaningful length of time.

If the ballerina protagonist is having identity issues, then maybe the mask is part of an incident in the plot. Portman sees Kunis in the same costume and mask and gets freaked out, or something. Or maybe somebody just thought it looked cool.

Share this post


Link to post

Vipa wrote:

Well said. I also think the lack of support of the arms is a giveaway. It is hard or perhaps impossible to make a non-dancer look believably like a dancer. It's funny that the headline of the article says "Natalie Portman Sports Stunning Ballerina Makeup in New 'Black Swan' Stills." Ballerina make-up indeed!!
Vipa, I agree with you. Her make-up reminds me of Bourne's "Swan Lake." I enjoy Portman's work. She's one of the few young actresses of substance out there right now. However, I hope the screenplay doesn't flow erratically like "Goya's Ghosts:" Natalie did excellent work in that film in spite of the plot. If "Black Swan" is as good as "The Company," great. If it's like "Center Stage" or "The Hills" meets "The Turning Point," not great.

Share this post


Link to post

I've got it! Let's turn this production over to Oliver Stone! That way, we'll learn things about ballet that we never dreamed existed, and in fact, don't, but Oliver will present them that way anyway! :FIREdevil:

Share this post


Link to post

According to Wikipedia, ABT's Sarah Lane was Portman's dance double for "Black Swan". Interesting choice...

From what I've seen of Lane's dancing, I imagined her as a potential Giselle or Lise rather than Odette/Odile.

I'm excited to see the film. And now I understand why I glimpsed Vincent Cassel near Lincoln Center a few times :lightbulb:

Maria Riccetto was also cast as the double for Mila Kunis. Based purely on body type, not sure how great of a match it is. Maria is much more filled out muscle-wise compared to Kunis who is very very thin. Exciting opportunity for both Lane and Riccetto though!

edit: Whoops! Did not see Vipa's comment before I posted. Sorry

Share this post


Link to post

Raccoon is good, but I was thinking along the lines of "Zorro - as you've NEVER seen him before!"

Zorro did use a bull whip occasionally, and when I saw the photo my first thought was that Portman has the stride and demeanor of a whip-toting bad-girl striding across the stage in high-heel black leather boots. Odile as dominatrix?

However, the index finger of the left hand is indeed vaguely and subtly balletic.

Share this post


Link to post

With this in mind, don't expect much from a Hollywood (or any commercial) movie which used ballet as the genre. T

Ordinarily I would agree, but Darren Aronofsky has a history of making interesting movies - Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain and most recently The Wrestler. Whether you like his movies or not (I do like them) they have never seemed formulaic to me. So I'm hopeful.

Share this post


Link to post

There is a clip about this film in YT

A few dance scenes could be seen.

Share this post


Link to post

The first clip, of Ashley Bouder & Benjamin Millepied in The Four Seasons, is from a video Kristin Sloan/NYCB made about their London trip. I think the last clip is from an NYCB video as well. Not sure about the second.

Share this post


Link to post

...I think the last clip is from an NYCB video as well.

No, the last clip is in the ABT studios and is an excerpt from Millepied's "Everything doesn't happen at once" with Marcelo Gomes and Isabella Boylston (ain't that a slap in the face?!)

Share this post


Link to post
Aronofsky is proud of Portman's achievement. "Most of these women who are here started dancing when they were 4, 5 or 6 years old. Their bodies are shaped differently because they started so young. She was able to pull it off. Except for the wide shots when she has to be en pointe for a real long time, it's Natalie on screen. I haven't used her double a lot."

http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2010-07-22-blackswaninside22_ST_N.htm

:dry:

Share this post


Link to post
Aronofsky is proud of Portman's achievement. "Most of these women who are here started dancing when they were 4, 5 or 6 years old. Their bodies are shaped differently because they started so young. She was able to pull it off. Except for the wide shots when she has to be en pointe for a real long time, it's Natalie on screen. I haven't used her double a lot."

http://www.usatoday....side22_ST_N.htm

:dry:

I'd be inclined to take that with a grain of salt. Or perhaps we don't see the character do much meaningful dancing.

Share this post


Link to post