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‘Black Swan’ – My View, My Thoughts, My own Language..

February 26, 2011 1 comment

white and black

A fragile young princess, Odette, is entrapped into the body of a White swan by a villainous sorcerer. Her only key to freedom is ‘Love’. She eventually finds it, yearns for an endearing prince anticipating her independence from the captivity.  But, hostility spreads its shackles, masquerading as the lustful Black Swan. The Black Swan, an indomitable, sensuous being, bestowed with perspicacious evil-intent seduces the prince. Notwithstanding the feelings for the white swan, the prince capitulates himself along with his charming paraphernalia to the playful, coquettish Black Swan. Implausible for the secluded grieve-struck lonely still-trapped Odette, the white swan – the lonely princess – throws itself from a cliff, embracing death. Death, thus, sets the fragile, young soul free from the entrapment.

…A Russian folklore that was proffered as a piece of art, as a ballet ‘Swan Lake’ first performed in 1877.

 

Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) in ‘Black Swan’, the movie, plays a ballet director dreadfully earnest to bring the ballet ‘Swan Lake’ for the audiences. The lead role in the ballet, a ‘Swan Queen’, demands of a ballet dancer proficient and dexterous not only in the modus operandi of the ballet to epitomize the White Swan but also proportionally free-flowing in her embodiment of the intense lustful Black Swan. A NO-EASY UNDERTAKING.

Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is one of the aspirants. A dancer with the New York City Ballet Company, Nina dreams of dancing as the Swan Queen which composes the opening scene of the movie. <Nina’s delicate yet agile personage is manifested by Natalie Portman with tranquility> Nina auditions for the role along with many others.

Whilst Nina’s perfect portrayal of white swan is applauded by Thomas Leroy, he gets inkling that playing out the antagonist Black Swan with a sensuous fascination is a far-fetched venture for Nina. The Black Swan is required to be imperfect yet passionate, vulnerable yet lustful, uncontrolled and deceitful. Nina’s control, her mastery over the dance, her keenness for the perfect moves work against her. She well-nigh loses the role.


natalie

Nonetheless, at the last moment, Leroy, getting a glimpse of Nina’s concealed rage in the form of a bite, changes his view of Nina and casts her for the lead. In consequence begins Nina’s endeavor.

The movie culminates with Nina lying wounded and probably dying after the opening performance of the ballet. She stares, with content, to the stage lights and whispers “I felt it. Perfect. I was perfect.”

The core of the movie encompasses Nina’s encounters with the people around her. Be it the ballet director whom she adores for his craftsmanship. Be it her despotic mother, a ballet dancer of yesteryears and now full of resentment for her past. Be it Lily (Mila Kunis), her self-assumed rival who, as claimed by Nina, is determined to grab her role as Swan Queen. Be it Nina herself, copiously obsessed towards perfecting her technique of the art, eventually turning into a self-destructive persona cognitively crippled with hallucinations.

Darren Aronofsky, as the director of this movie, is sensible in presenting a watchable psychological thriller with the right amalgamation of elements that are bound to attract the Academy.

Natalie Portman delivers a performance of a lifetime. She is real, hard-hitting, reaps sympathy from viewers at times, and makes people believe Nina on the nail which in itself is a huge achievement.

Natalie Portman shed 20 pounds for the role which is evidently visible in the movie. A CRUEL PERFECT BALLET ESTHETIC. She also learned the dance form for a year, her trainer being her on-screen dance partner in the opening scene of the movie, Benjamin Millepied.

As an  addendum, a trained ballet dancer was used as a body double for Portman for a few of the scenes.

The ballet performed in the movie mostly constitutes the Neo-classical type developed in the United Stated by the legendary George Balanchine, a Russian dance master who dominated the field of ballet for more than 50 years.

Some elements of the movie depict, beautifully and within the confines of the motion picture, the irrefutable starvation diets, dance injuries the performers pass through and the tendentious idiosyncrasies of the dark underside of Ballet.

Oscars are on the way and I, a fan of Natalie Portman, am keeping my fingers crossed for the Best Actress Oscar to come her way.

 

Way to go Miss. Portman!!

 

-Rahul Nilangekar

 

P.S: IMDB rating for the movie – 8.5/10