Black Swan Review The Individual Pain of Perfectionism Between Flaw and Perfection
Construction Year: 2010
Duration: 1 hour 48 minutes
Director: Daren Aronofsky
Screenplay: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John McLaughlin
Soundtrack: A Swan Song, Clint Mansell
Notable Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel
Darren Aronofsky was born in 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. The director, who has teacher parents, graduated from Edward R. Murrow High School. Going to theater plays on Broadway increased her interest in show business.
In 1985, the master director studied Nature and Biology in Kenya for a while, and in 1986 he carried out various studies on the subject in Alaska. Aronofsky studied social anthropology and cinema at Harvard University in 1987. Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, Terry Gilliam, Shinya Tsukamoto and Hubert Selby Jr. There are important directors such as Spike Lee.
Supermarket Sweep, Aronofsky’s thesis, was a finalist in the Student Academy Awards in 1991. In 1992, Aronofsky earned his master’s degree in directing from the AFI Conservatory.
Aronofsky’s Feature Films
Mother! (Mother), 2017
Noah (Noah), 2014
Black Swan, 2010
The Wrestler (Champion), 2008
The Fountain (Source), 2006
Requiem for a Dream, 2000
Swan Lake (Swan Lake), Tchaikovsky
Swan Lake, inspired by Darren Aronofsky and composed by Tchaikovsky, is one of the most famous ballet music. In Tchaikovsky’s music, despair and drama flow from the notes. His unique tonal talent, which we rarely witness on his cheerful side, has enriched his melodies.
The original story of Swan Lake tells the love between a young prince and a beautiful swan princess. The prince celebrates his 21st birthday with girls around him who are desperately trying to impress and dance with him. Girls mean nothing to the prince.
The main character of the story, Odette and her friends have been turned into swans by a magician (Rothbart), and the spell is broken when a man falls in love with Odette. One day the prince is out hunting, one of the graceful swans swimming in the water catches his attention. This is Odette with a crown on her head. When Odette tells the prince about her experiences, the prince falls in love with her.
At the Prince’s ongoing birthday celebration, his mother tells him to choose one of the girls. The magician shows his daughter, disguised as Odette, to the prince. As the excited prince starts dancing, Odette the Swan sees them through the window. Odette the Swan, unable to understand what happened, continues to watch them from the window. While the prince is about to declare his love for the fake Odette, the real Odette runs away and the prince follows Odette to the lake. However, the sorcerer finds the prince, whom he has forced to marry his daughter, and reminds him that he must keep his word.
The prince, on the other hand, says that he would rather die than marry her, and the magic of the swans is broken in the axis of true love.
In 1875, at the request of the Royal Theater, Tchaikovsky composed the composition for Swan Lake. Swan Lake ballet, which has survived to the present day with various choreographies, is still seen as a masterpiece, a visual and auditory feast.
Aronofsky’s Swan Lake Ballet
Daren Aronofsky has done much more than bring a ballet to the screen. The film, which carries traces of psychological thriller and drama, begins with Nina imagining herself dancing and being a white swan. Nina wakes up and we realize that this show was a dream. Subsequently, speaking to his mother will also confirm the dream.
Nina’s room designed like a baby and her mother’s hegemonic discourse make us feel from the very beginning that something is wrong. The correlation between indicators and characters is often dichotomous*. Thomas (teacher) says he will choose Black Swan, but this time he will do a doppelganger study. According to Thomas, Nina is only capable of being a white swan.
Nina’s imagination of being both swans is also seen in the plot of the film. While Thomas says that he wants to see this duality in one body, Nina, who looks at him, sees her teacher as two people in the mirror. He looks in the other mirror with a sincere smile and is happy to see all he sees because his editing is working.
Nina’s relationship with her mother goes beyond privacy. So much so that Nina scratches her skin because of her obsession, and her mother questions her about these marks while dressing and preparing her. We see how advanced the obsession with being thin is when you don’t want to eat the cake that your mother brought for the celebration, and we see when you are happy with the word that you are slim on the day the tailor measures your clothes. He has so much control over his own body and working life that it is damaging. Nina is at war with herself throughout the movie, but she projects this struggle through her arch-rival Lily.
His universe of delusions is reinforced by two women. The obstacle to her being the retired ballerinas Beth and Black Swan, whom she sees as role models, is Lily, who does not know the technique but dances sincerely.
* Dichotomy: A duality is the division of a whole into two parts.
The movie made it very easy for us to see the diegetic** elements as it put the storytelling with the ballet, and it put its aura on a simple and realistic ground. The sound and dance flowing from the piano are simultaneous. Nina’s thinking that she needs to be just like Lily to be better and watching her rehearse also shows mimetic *** features.
The stick that Nina uses to create an intimacy brings to mind the castration that Freud talked about, even the paternal law. Nina chooses this object belonging to the phallic plane to protect herself. Again, his relationship with mirrors appears many times over. This is a nice way to show that he hasn’t met himself fully yet, that he hasn’t found his identity yet.
The film has prepared its background through psychological dilemmas. The depictions he prefers are also (subconscious) as significant as the black swan’s belonging to a dark side.
**Diegetic: It is a world where the described situations and events take place. As opposed to showing, animating, telling is transferring.
***Mimetic: Relating to imitation.
Nina, who had a reckoning with Lily until the day of the show, planned to kill her in her own fantasy world when the big day came, and that she could easily turn into a black swan with the pollution caused by this crime.
Returning to her room after portraying the white swan, Nina sees Lily instead of her own image in the mirror and gets into a violent fight with the mirror. The mirror shatters, and there’s a bloody Lily on the floor, carrying her to the bathroom in her hallucinatory world and transforming into a ‘Black Swan’, down to her skin. One last transformation remains. It must be a white swan again.
When he goes to his room, the doorbell rings, and when he opens it, he sees Lily in front of him. Faced with reality, Nina pulls out the piece of glass she stuck in her body, and her eyes fill with the innocence of a white swan. When he returns to the stage, he will have to climb the mountain and jump into the bed on the ground, which is his last move. The horses but remain covered in blood. Nina takes a deep breath. Because the important thing is the sound of applause in the hall.
Nina’s ambition has damaged her.
The woman drawn by Aronofsky is a woman obsessed with success at the cost of her death. While constructing the ballet show on a semantic platform, it shows how much renunciation the transformation is loaded with for most of us. In the fiction of the film, instead of giving any feedback, Nina, who has climbed the mountain, makes eye contact with her mother, even though she lives far away. What her mother couldn’t achieve in her own life, Nina has accomplished, but with tearful eyes, because her white dress is partially covered in blood, and when she jumps to the ground, it will actually be perhaps the last time she sees her mother.
In the closing sequence, there is a soul-touching applause in the sound design and Thomas with the dancers gathered around Nina’s bloody body in the visual. “I felt it,” Nina says poignantly. He is not healthy, both physiologically and psychologically.
The director shows us the woman’s reckoning with herself, sometimes in her disagreement with her cuticles, sometimes with the desire to destroy the obstacles in front of Thomas when she cries out to Thomas that she doesn’t want Lily, and finally, her ambition, which will cost her life, with the blood we see on her white dance dress.
Metz always said that the system of images must be rationally reasoned. For this reason, he argues that cinema belongs to a universal language rather than an individual language.
Just as basic meaning and connotation allow us to understand it in various ways in the grammar of a sentence, cinema also establishes its language as a basic and connotation. In Black Swan, the black swan is not mentioned only in black. The phenomenon created by the signifier is that black belongs to the dark one; just like lust, greed, passion, it symbolizes emotions that make it difficult for us to know ourselves when they take us prisoner.
But more than that, the fact that the girl has inflorescences reminds us that she could be a ballerina, while the fact that they are too worn indicates that she worked hard. These signs that produce meaning are not in an arbitrary syntactic structure. Had the director preferred the simpler approach, he could have included in his script to call the girl to her mother and tell her she needed a new pair of shoes. Again, this wouldn’t be too surprising for us because the mother figure is so dominant that it causes developmental distress.
The close-ups he chose to increase the dramatic curve in his shots, the successful amors he chose in the encounter between Lily and Nina, his success in using the moving and eye-catching side of the stage world of lights, his resolution of the editing philosophy still evokes in my mind the black swan or a pair of ballet shoes today. It is none other than Aronofsky.
Just as it is a good achievement that oral literature is knitted with some rhymes and survived until today, it is our wealth in films that are sorted according to a good syntax (to which the language of cinema belongs).
Life does not find it appropriate for a person to harm himself or others for his own interests, at any cost. It is not a healthy behavior to act according to the side that belongs only to the ide (mental layer). This situation must either be brought under control with treatment or we must be conscious that their return to us will be devastating. Being an ordinary ballerina isn’t all that bad. If there is any artistic trace in the work done, sooner or later the label of mediocrity will be purged.