Black Swan – incredible insights into shadowland

posted by Eivind on February 6, 2011, at 1:32 am

I just came back from watching Black Swan at the movies and hanging out with the guys afterwards. It's not a movie appropriate for featuring in the main database of this site and I had never planned to watch it, but when my Brother Vegard invited me, I wanted to come along. Best movie I've seen in ages. Fuck, it's awesome!

Darren Aronofsky is a very impressive director (who really understands how to portray non-ordinary states of mind on camera extremely well), as I'm sure many of you are already aware of, but I think this is his greatest masterpiece so far. I think I would place it up there with the ten best movies I've ever seen.

For those who haven't seen it already, the movie is about Nina Sayers (amazingly portrayed by Natalie Portman), a talented and hard-working ballerina whose big breakthrough has not yet happened. But when artistic director Thomas Leroy at the company she dances for decides to produce a unique version of Swan Lake for the opening of the new season, he picks Nina for the role.

I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but what is so incredibly rich about this movie is the understanding of shadow territory and the consequences of suppressing the darkness in us. Nina is an incredibly repressed girl, both emotionally and sexually. Her technique is impeccable and Thomas tells her repeatedly that she is perfect for the role of the white swan. "But would you want to fuck her?," he asks one of the male dancers. By being outrageous, the controversial Thomas seems to want to tease the black swan out of Nina. He wants her to rise in her power and stop being so "fucking weak". He is provoking her, but she keeps repressing that which he desires for her to express, and the darkness in her starts becoming out of hand (some scenes showing this are incredibly freaky - I had to really breathe deeply not to lose composure in some of these).

I actually like Thomas. It's easy to conclude that he is abusing his role of authority to seduce Nina as a means of "teaching her", but it seems to me that he is actually doing exactly what is needed to wake up the black swan in her. There is a scene in which he ends up making out with Nina, and then he walks out on her while telling her "I just seduced you. It's supposed to be the other way around." Ouch.

There is something amazing going on here – Darren Aronofsky really understand that dark Feminine that I once described in the movie review for Beowulf and the way in which he deals with it in this movie is so fucking exquisite and enlightened. When Nina starts embodying the black swan towards the end of the movie, the shift in her character is awe-inspiring and people LOVE her. It's so easy for women to suppress that part in themselves because they have taught to be nice girls or whatever. But the dark Feminine is so incredibly sexy. Juicy as all fuck. There is so much life and vitality in the dark. For women as well as for men.

As a recovering nice guy, there is much to learn from this movie. Nina suppresses her inner darkness and sexuality because she wants to remain in control and that is exactly what creates her problems and tensions (any "nice guy" will recognize what this feels like). When she finally enters the darkness, she becomes a fully embodied, sexy woman, just as I and you reading this would become a fully adult man (or woman) were we to do the same.

This movie has inspired me even further to stop holding back my truth and to just inject myself into the world, no matter whether what I have to offer is dark or bright. I'm not going to let myself become a traumatized wreck of a person like Nina Sayer and the only way to prevent that from happening is to speak it out. No holding back of myself anymore.

Black Swan reminds me both why I think Darren Aronofsky is one of the best directors working in Hollywood today and that it's time to start being ourselves and live fully! Time and money incredibly well spent. We all fucking loved it. Amazing.

Watch trailer on IMDB.

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