Yesterday, I went to see Black Swan at the cinema, and as I type, I am still getting the movie out of my system.
I am not talking here about the cinematic, technical worth of the movie: critics and experts are here to do just that.
I will not even comment on the rendition of the world of ballet, or Natalie Portman's technique, and so on, even though I used to be a very keen dancer - ballet from 5 to 13 and then modern jazz dance from 13 to 20 - and I recognised so many little details - how to "break" your shoes, attaching the ribbons to the pointes, the barre exercises, the maddening piano accompaniment (oh, I hated this!).
I know a lot of people (and I could sense it in the venue yesterday) are going to see the movie for the "wrong" reasons: it's a ballet movie and is going to be all girlie and nice - I swear the group of giggling, munching, squealing women next to me didn't expect so much darkness. Then you have the ones who would go, teased by all the talk about lesbian sex - not a sexy scene at all, but one that was in a way necessary.
All the enraged (embittered?) "real" ballet dancers invited by the media and commenting on the size of Natalie Portman's arms and butts, and the articles reporting the increased interest in "fitness with ballet" sessions from women... all very insulting.
Let's forget about these simplistic, idiotic views typical of our shallow world and let me tell you what I thought was amazing about this movie with a very personal view.
I got out of the cinema feeling quite emotional, a little bit upset.
At the risk of sounding arrogant and full of myself, I do believe that most people who go and see the movie would miss most of the issues tackled.
If you haven't experienced those issues yourself, you probably wouldn't understand Nina's predicament. In a society in which everyone has to be "popular", "liked by loads of friends", "love to laugh", has to be sorted sexually, socially, professionally, etc. there isn't a lot of room for people like Nina (and a lot of people refuse to admit/hide the fact that they have those issues).
Yes, the fact that she is a dancer and in a competitive environment probably exacerbates some of the problems, but the battle with your body and for the control of your body (and the fact that only exercising, sweating, treating it badly makes you feel alive), the twisted, difficult sexuality and the terror and confusion it can induce, the paranoia, the self-hatred and self-harming, the panic attacks and the dark fantasies: you don't have to be a dancer to experience them, they are part of being (too) human. Then there is the obsession, the personal rituals, the inability to find any pleasure in anything, the inability to "let go"... All these things are extremely difficult to articulate, but you can see them at work behind Natalie Portman's eyes, you can see them crawl beneath her skin. And that's what, I think, makes this movie special, at least for me.
People giggled (nervously) at some points during the movie when there wasn't any reason to laugh, which proved they didn't get it AT ALL. It made me angry, it filled me with contempt (yes, I know, but it is true).
Black Swan made me think of those texts I wrote ten years ago (under the name "Dysfunctions"), I still haven't decided what to do with them...
Here is one of those texts below, some of the scenes in the movie reminded me of it.
I have posted a few more on the "Dysfunctions" page of this w
She misses the high
She misses the rush
Flesh against flesh
Now she misses the taste of his skin
Her body is functioning
Like a starved mouth
Opening to suck up air
Every single cell
Swollen with desire
Deaf, mute and blind
Her mind is on fire
Images of bodies
Stuck, warm and sweaty
The smell of sex
Perfume of pleasure
Fluids are flooding
Veins are throbbing
Thick blood, red and hot
Exploding all over me
In her belly
There is a hidden animal
Asleep and tamed
Just for now
Ready to wake up and jump
To get the food it’s been deprived of
For too long
Thinking of it
Her mouth goes dry
Her brain is buzzing
Her hands are moving down
She is her own lover
No one else can be
… And yet …
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