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Today's write-up in the Wall Street Journal about B Millepied and his assistance on the Black Swan project mentions in passing that Millepied is now dating Natalie P (and therefore by inference no longer has I Bolyston as his girlfriend). :blink:

Quite old (and devastating) news, I'm afraid, going back to the end of last year and January 2010, when it was all over the tabloids, online and print. :(

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A month to go before the official opening.

Terrence Rafferty has written an advance article in the NY Times:

Dark Transformation to Strains of 'Swan Lake'

Thanks, dirac, for the Llink.

“WHEN I started thinking about ‘Swan Lake,’ ” said Darren Aronofsky, whose new film, “Black Swan,” is about a young dancer wrestling with the demanding lead role in that ballet, “a dancer, I think Julie Kent, said to me that the story is really about a girl who gets caught by an evil magician who turns her into a swan during the day and a half-swan, half-human at night. It popped into my head, ‘Oh, a were-swan.’ And I realized I was making a werewolf movie.”Natalie Portman stars as a ballerina struggling to handle the lead in “Swan Lake” in the movie ”Black Swan.” Vincent Cassel, left with “Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky, plays the ballet company’s manipulative artistic director. It seems not to have occurred to him, even at that moment of enlightenment, that good werewolf movies are nearly as rare as good ballet films, but the thought probably wouldn’t have daunted him much. “I mean, that was probably one of the major things that attracted me to the story,” he said, “the idea of putting Natalie Portman through this physical transformation. That’s what the fairy tale is about.”

Physical transformation is, after all, what ballet is about too: the stretching and shaping and molding of a body into a form that makes impossible movements possible, and allows a creature of flesh and blood to transcend the limitations of the merely human and take flight (at least metaphorically) into the region of the sublime. Well, that’s the idea anyway.

And how about THIS?

Poor ambitious Nina’s insanity is, in a way, just an occupational hazard: ballet dancers train for years, changing their bodies utterly, so they can get up on a stage and make us believe that they are someone, or something, they’re not. A certain over-the-top-ness is built right in. So Nina’s dancing gets better as she becomes crazier, growing more and more estranged from herself.

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A month to go before the official opening.

Terrence Rafferty has written an advance article in the NY Times:

Dark Transformation to Strains of 'Swan Lake'

Thanks, dirac, for the Llink.

WHEN I started thinking about Swan Lake, said Darren Aronofsky, whose new film, Black Swan, is about a young dancer wrestling with the demanding lead role in that ballet, a dancer, I think Julie Kent, said to me that the story is really about a girl who gets caught by an evil magician who turns her into a swan during the day and a half-swan, half-human at night. It popped into my head, Oh, a were-swan. And I realized I was making a werewolf movie.Natalie Portman stars as a ballerina struggling to handle the lead in Swan Lake in the movie Black Swan. Vincent Cassel, left with Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky, plays the ballet companys manipulative artistic director. It seems not to have occurred to him, even at that moment of enlightenment, that good werewolf movies are nearly as rare as good ballet films, but the thought probably wouldnt have daunted him much. I mean, that was probably one of the major things that attracted me to the story, he said, the idea of putting Natalie Portman through this physical transformation. Thats what the fairy tale is about.

Physical transformation is, after all, what ballet is about too: the stretching and shaping and molding of a body into a form that makes impossible movements possible, and allows a creature of flesh and blood to transcend the limitations of the merely human and take flight (at least metaphorically) into the region of the sublime. Well, thats the idea anyway.

And how about THIS?

Poor ambitious Ninas insanity is, in a way, just an occupational hazard: ballet dancers train for years, changing their bodies utterly, so they can get up on a stage and make us believe that they are someone, or something, theyre not. A certain over-the-top-ness is built right in. So Ninas dancing gets better as she becomes crazier, growing more and more estranged from herself.

:blink: O.M.G. What?!

I love how Rafferty describes how Aronofsky reached his conclusion:

At a certain point in the story of Swan Lake grafted itself onto a script called "The Understudy" by Andres Heinz, which was, Mr. Aronofsky said, "set in the Off Broadway theatre world and was a kind of combination of 'The Double' and 'All About Eve,' with a little bit of Polanski's 'Repulsion' in there too."

After a couple of more writers - first John McLaughlin, then Mark Heyman - and 20 or 30 drafts, Mr. Aronofsky was satisfied that he had a movie he could make, and one that despite its relatively uncommercial subject matter, audiences might want to see.

I've seen the trailers: :wallbash:. My guess is that Portman will get an Oscar nomination for this role... But, so will Diane Lane for her role as 'Penny Chenery' in "Secretariat."

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I think I'll leave the Black Swan where it is and watch this one again:

LOL! I think I know which movie I'd like to see! :D

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There's a new movie poster out now.

http://www.cinemablend.com/images/news/21780/Gorgeous_New_Black_Swan_Poster_1290002831.jpg

I think it's pretty cool looking (I certainly like it much better than the "bat girl" Portman-face up close), but i'm disappointed that the "swan lake" pose is really lost b/c of the camera angle.

-goro-

This new poster reminds me of the Trocks version of Dying Swan because there are feathers flying around.

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I saw a screening of this last week. Honestly, I can't even say if I think it's a good movie, but it certainly held my interest!

If you're looking for great dancing, you'll probably be disappointed, because the movie isn't really a ballet film in that sense. It's a thriller first and foremost, with Aronofsky using the ballet world as a setting appropriate for his busy and surreal environment, one in which there is no dividing line--none whatsoever!--between the insecurities, paranoia, ambitions, and desires of a creative artist's inner life and the tangible facts of the "real world." It's completely fluid, and you can debate forever what parts of the movie are real and which parts pure imagination. (You might even ask if any of it is real.) I was about to say we see everything through Portman's eyes, but that's not right, it's more disorienting than that: we feel everything as Portman feels them. So as the movie progresses, you might say, in response to a scene or character, "that's absurd" or "oh, such a cliche" or even "huh???"; then you realize that these things have deliberately dropped into the movie because they are part of the the character's inner perception, where anything is possible. They are real to her, so they are presented as real to us. This is terrifically well done from a technical standpoint, and it's a great idea for the thriller genre since soon enough everybody the ballerina has contact with, even her own mother, seems to have an ulterior motive, and you never know what crazy thing is going to happen next.

I thought Portman was outstanding. With her big, vulnerable eyes and almost non-stop anxious panting, she makes the character's utter loneliness palpable and heartbreaking. You feel for her--which is exactly how Aronofsky pulls you in.

Incidentally, if you're squeemish like me, there are a few scenes you might have trouble watching, but it's not as bad in that regard as the trailer had led me to expect.

Anthony

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We get to watch Natalie pleasuring herself? Pass the popcorn.

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In New York's most venerable paper, the NY Post (sorry Leigh), there is a Page Six item (that's the gossip column), stating that Ben Millipied was "obsessed" with Portman during the filming, and he paid little attention to other performers in the film. The item also says that he is "social climbing" by dating Portman. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing Ben on the red carpets during awards season as Natalie's date.

Edit to add: By the way,there was an article in yesterday's Arts & Leisure section of the NY Times regarding "Black Swan". It is primarily an interview with Portman in which she discusses the training she endured to prepare for the role, and the difficulty of the performane for her. (It mentions that Sarah Lane of ABT was the body double for the difficult pointe work. )

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Released today a short "dance" clip

-goro-

Oh my. I think I have new-found respect for Kanye West's

If you have 35 minutes to spare, go bask in the sheer dementedness of the

. An angelic bird woman falls from heaven in a ball of fire right in front of Kanye's car ... one of Apollo's angels, perhaps? :wink:

Edited to add an advisory: Kanye's lyrics are of course explicit. But the man sure loves him some bourrees ...

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Fresh Air with Terri Gross interviewed Portman today: To Become A 'Black Swan,' Portman Had To Go Dark.

"As a child, I idealized [ballet] because, as a little girl, you just think of it as this pretty, light, delicate and feminine thing," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "You see how much darker the world is when you're immersed in it."

That doesn't strike me as terribly intelligent. I passed up a free ticket for this film last month, and now it's back in town again. I'm still not going.

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I've seen the film (and have a short companion piece to the film review in Friday's Post.)

The saddest thing is that all the publicity, and the film itself, focuses on how screwed-up ballet is. Aronofsky is fascinated by ballet's freakish minutiae . . . and nothing else. He seems to have no idea why anyone would love or do it - except if they're nuts.

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Yikes, you'd think a year of training would soften up at least some part of her upper body.

The things we taken for granted!

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Released today a short "dance" clip

-goro-

Is she supposed to look like that?? More chicken than swan. The audience's enthusiastic roar is highly inexplicable.

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Not having seen this flick and only experienced the hype and this thread, I began to think that the idea that ballet is so feminine and "pretty" and so forth (a stereotype derived from the iconic ballerina image) is what gives the author/director fertile ground to trample this stereotype... like plowing through a field of daisies with a tractor. I don't see why the world of ballet... that is... behind the scenes... the lives of the dancers and ADs and so forth would be any different than any other arts genre or even other "worlds" for that matter. People are people and have the same struggles and demons to deal with. You can see that in the librettos and stories in opera and ballet!

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Natalie Portman is going to be on Charlie Rose tonight, in case anyone is interested.

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According to their "tweets" both Ashley Bouder and Daniil Simkin liked the movie. Pretty good endorsements.

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The NY Times review (by Manohla Dargis) is now online. It's a very positive review.

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The NY Times review (by Manohla Dargis) is now online. It's a very positive review.

Dargis' taste is highly variable in my experience. This will be a widely reviewed film, I'm sure.

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David Denby gave the film a pretty scathing review in "The New Yorker". Favorite quote: "Dance lovers will find it so over the top that they are likely to be amused".

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Denby also wrote many positives, such as:

“Black Swan” is every bit as beautiful as a tray of Russian Easter eggs...

He then suggested that one of the lovely eggs should be cracked on the director's head.

I also watched the Charlie Rose interview with Portnam and the director. To be honest, it made me want to run to see the film, as scenes of both intense beauty and intrigue were shown. [Too, it made me wish that the film would have been set at the Mariinsky...but that's another melodrama screaming out for a film, to be titled "The House of Blues"!]

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For anyone who saw Portman's interview with Charlie Rose, I thought Portman made a very perceptive observation. She said that many of the ballerinas she has encountered speak like "little girls", and she made a decision (with the director) to speak in a little girl tone of voice for her characterization of Nina. If you read Macauley's reviews in the NY Times on a regular basis, he frequently complains that certain dancers' performances, particularly women, are marred by "cotton candy girlishness". He also frequently complains that dancers do not come across as "adults" in their performances. It's interesting that this film uses the "cotton candy girlishness" of ballerinas as the jumping off point for Nina's character.

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