9 March 2011

The Black Swan

I had the craziest dream last night about a girl who has turned into a swan, but her prince falls for the wrong girl and she kills herself.
I saw the craziest movie few nights ago about a girl who wants to be a swan queen, but she suffers from – schizophrenia.

Black Swan is wrong on so many levels I’m having a hard time deciding where to begin. The very premise of the movie is just plain ridiculous. A ballerina (and she is the best ballerina in the company) is perfectly suited for the white swan, but not black – her black swan is uninspired because of her inhibitions. The idea is ridiculous. Should you know anything about ballet you will know that it’s not much like acting, despite both arts being performed on a stage – that’s pretty much all they have in common in fact. Yes, you can feel better or worse in a certain role, but if you made it to be principal ballerina of a New York City ballet, then the premise that your “black swan sucks” to loosely quote Vincent Cassell is a joke. She is either as good as a principal ballerina is supposed to be in such a company or ... no there is no other explanation. In ballet there are no roundabouts, no easy ways, no looking through your fingers, if you make it that far it means you’re worthy of it. And you most certainly can dance the black swan. The role itself is not that demanding at all, there are ballets that are far more difficult and interesting, but the black swan has a very movie – friendly story, besides it must be the only ballet your average movie buff has heard of.
If I put aside common sense and decide to play along with the movie accepting the game that Nina’s white swan is magnificent and her black swan is horrible I still see a lake of problems.
My biggest one being the very portrayal of Nina’s madness. She is not “ballerina crazy” at all, someone check up on her, she is book example schizophrenic!

There are a few nice and subtle lines that gave me hope of her portrayal, but the director deems his viewers to be stupid so he is trying too hard. Ballerinas are seriously mentally disturbed, but not schizophrenic. There is a huge difference in the two. Seriously, check the latest DSM – V.
Aronofsky should have really given us more credit and make the movie little more subtle. He is simply trying too hard. Instead of making a very emotionally scary drama he made something that resembles a bad horror from the 80s, with flat toned music and several cheap thrills.
Ballerina’s are so mentally disturbed that I thought you can’t possibly go wrong there, but hey, once again people surprise me.
I just want to be perfect. Says Nina at one point. And that’s it. That’s what Aronofsky should have taken as a light motive. That is all any ballerina wants at any given time. It’s no longer a wish, she doesn’t just want to be perfect, she needs to be perfect. And you don’t need to tell her that she can’t dance the black swan to send her downwards, you can just tell her that her plié is five millimetres too shallow and there you go... Just getting the role of the swan queen in such a company is already stress enough. One thing you need to know, world of ballet is as cruel as it gets. It’s way scarier than Aronofsky showed it. There are no sleazy directors who want to get in your panties (that’s acting again), no they get into your head. The whole process of training consists of constant and deliberate diminishing of your spirit and creating a perfectly disciplined mind and body. To put it simply, they make you believe you’re no good for anything but you need to be perfect, and perfection is attainable but only through gruelling training. Ballet comes first, ballet comes second, third... last. Nothing but ballet is allowed. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in your life comes only after ballet, if you truly want to make it.
Nina is constantly alone and feels lonely which is quite silly. It is among people where you feel lonely, when you’re alone, you feel safe.
People mean nothing to you because all you can see when you look at them is how unworthy they are. They have NEVER EVER worked so hard for anything in their lives. They couldn’t even imagine to what extent it goes, and yet they are happy. They are not aware how pathetic they truly are. And that’s what a principal ballerina has to deal with.
There is more than in enough material in a world of ballet to make a truly scary movie. You don’t need imagination to write a story about a disturbed ballerina.

Her alter ego Mila Kunis is all a ballerina cannot be. No ballerina can have a tattoo, let alone a tattoo that covers half of her back, and even more convincing, no ballerina is that happy and carefree. Don’t be silly. That’s why she had to push that part of herself so deep inside and hide it. To truly be a ballerina you need to kill the untroubled teen in you who just wants to have fun. In ballet you cannot have it all. You can only have one thing. In every sense of the way it takes over you.

And every single word someone says can be interpreted against you. Self destruction is a faithful companion. If you’re dancing with someone and the choreographer tells her she did something but but doesn’t say anything to you, in your head it equals him saying you’re a pathetic worthless being and she is such an amazing dancer, she can do things you will never be able to. And it doesn’t only stay in the dance studio, ballerina’s set of mind follows you everywhere. And disables you to trust anyone because no one can say all the right things, no one is capable of saying something you won’t misinterpret. And it disables you to love someone because no matter what they say or do you’ll just end up being hurt. And it disables you to have friends because you can’t stand their care freeness... and that’s why I don’t understand why did Aronofsky felt the need to push Nina into schizophrenia when I am sure she is crazy enough as it is.

Simply, the cycles of good and evil are not that clear apart in ballet. What is evil in the outer world is good in ballet and vice versa. The line between them is not thin; there is basically no line at all...


  1. Firstly, to set the tone of my response, I do like what you've said here, and here is exactly why;

    1. There was insight and a real depth of thought to both the content of your arguments and what you intended to convey.

    2. Ballet is an extreme way to live therefore the deliberate bias towards its emotional stresses was very justified.

    3. Yet very interestingly you glanced over its physical difficulties but alas this is something a 'real' ballerina must have done and got very used to........feel no physical pain. (If the emotional pain of an effort is strong enough, your perception of its physical pain is almost laughed off as insignificant).

    4. I say 'real' because some things you cannot pretend to be.

    5. You hint at the monumental efforts a ballerina will put into her art yet also display the abject lack of any acknowledgement of self-praise a real ballerina would also deny herself.

    6. To think absolutely nothing of even tremendous amounts of self-effort and work is a side-effect of trying to attain perfection. Perfection is infinitely far away therefore any distanced traveled towards it can be seen as insignificant.

    7. There is a longing for someone or something inside you to say "okay, that's it, you're good enough" - but the moment someone says that you think that they're not good enough!!

    8. The end-game actually is to be at peace with your own mind with the secure feeling that being at peace is not giving up but a very high level of earned emotional maturity.

    In the end this maturity is perhaps the final (and indeed perhaps the only) significant reward that the lucky ones ever take away from all this shit!

  2. 1. Ballet is gay.
    2. Nobody (except douchey artfags) has given a shit about ballet since the 1830's.
    3. This is pretty much the gayest movie I've ever seen.

  3. Agree on the movie being a poor insight into a ballerina
    Dissagree on your negative viewpoint on a ballarina's lifestyle to an extent, i think to argue properly you have to include the pro's to cover all angles and show how you still find it a disstructive art