Saturday, January 8, 2011


Clearly the film of the year. Just this side of schlock, it is, nevertheless, an Aronofsky original, assimilating the obvious influence of THE RED SHOES (the Powell-Pressburger master-take on the Diagelev-Nijinsky relationship, with Anton Walbrook and the wonderful Moira Shearer) and the less-obvious influence of Polanski's REPULSION. The most knowledgeable and the best review so far was by Roger Ebert, accessible on his website. Probably, in the future, BLACK SWAN will be released as a DVD double with THE WRESTLER.

It is a film exploring the nature of artistic genius, dedication and commitment, and its relation to psychological imbalance and madness. It is a must-see for any involved in the creative process, or any serious cineaste.

The Zen archer dissolves the target, and great art is not a matter of technique and craft alone, but of inner vision. Sophocles' Oedipus blinding himself, Bunuel and Dali slicing the eye, VanGogh severing his ear to try to silence the Meniere's. Baudelaire's "derangement", Ahab's "I'd strike the sun if he insulted me", Lawrence's dark gods, the "riot in the soul" from which some, like Conrad, via Marlowe stepping back from the abyss saying "the horror! the horror!" or Melville's Ishmael, are given to witness, and some, like Hart Crane, or Tsvetaeva, or Sa Carneiro are not. This is no Romantic notion of suffering for one's art, but a compulsive necessity to unleash the psyche, to go to that place where, as Yeats would have it: "who can tell the dancer from the dance"...