Comments on: Check Out My Ego: Aronofsky’s Black Swan /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/ A feminist pop culture adventure Tue, 07 Apr 2020 16:30:56 +0000 hourly 1 By: Little link round-up – Things As They Are /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-532479 Tue, 07 Apr 2020 16:30:56 +0000 […] Bad Reputation, Check out my Ego: Aronofsky’s Black Swan. I’m going to have to see this movie […]

By: Mary Tracy /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-852 Sun, 20 Feb 2011 14:48:08 +0000 Hodge, your blog is most excellent.

Haven’t seen the film, so I can’t comment. But…

“he’s actually using a number of tropes (Swan Lake, backstage drama, the psychological thriller) that have been done better by *intelligent* people before.”

You can extend that to most modern Hollywood stuff. There’s hardly anything anymore with more depth than a thimble.

By: Hodge /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-851 Thu, 17 Feb 2011 09:08:10 +0000 In reply to Russell.

Your point about how her body is her livelihood is exactly my own. As I said above, you can’t be a professional dancer and not eat a considerable amount, because you burn about a million calories every day. (Most dancers who are obsessively trying to lose weight are on speed nowadays, for exactly that reason). And all we see throughout the film is Nina turning down food or barely eating any of it (that cake bit is given a fair amount of screen time. Why?).

Maybe, though, I’m just trying to ascribe a defined meaning to the food stuff that the film doesn’t have. Because it’s soooo deep. After all, he never makes a decision one way or another about whether the whole thing is in her mind or not. Though, of course, that’s a tired old film tradition that’s been endlessly rehashed in a significant majority of well-structured but ultimately facile Oscar-contender film for the last twenty years.

And that’s my beef, really. It’s a good film in many ways, it’s just not intelligent. That wouldn’t be a problem (cf. pretty much any Richard Curtis film), except for the fact that the whole way through you can just HEAR aronofsky offset going on about how clever he is.

What this post was attempting to show was that he’s actually using a number of tropes (Swan Lake, backstage drama, the psychological thriller) that have been done better by *intelligent* people before.

By: Hodge /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-850 Thu, 17 Feb 2011 08:56:17 +0000 In reply to Marysia.

It’s just not very well thought through though is it… Why call it ‘Black Swan’ and use all the music, plus the tired old ‘black swan bad white swan good’ (which, as i point out in the post is quite a misreading of the story anyway) if you’re then going to be all ‘no but it’s not ballet-based at all! your version of the film is wrong!’ That’s just aronofsky trying to have his cake and eat it…

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-849 Thu, 17 Feb 2011 00:29:20 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

I re-watched “42nd Street” this evening. It is the grandmother of all backstage musicals, and quite probably the best. It succeeded in bringing tears to my eyes on what was very far from my first viewing. And I think it passes the Bechter test. There are quite a lot of named female characters, they do talk to one another, and some of their remarks are not about men (though some are).

By: Miranda /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-848 Wed, 16 Feb 2011 16:55:56 +0000 In reply to Russell.

Yes, well, HORSE, COURSE, etc.

By: Miranda /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-847 Wed, 16 Feb 2011 16:52:34 +0000 In reply to Marysia.

I think that’s an interesting point, but I’m not sure it invalidates any of Hodge’s opinions at all. If anything, Hodge’s view that the ballet doesn’t hang properly on the story is consolidated by the revelation that the story may never have been intended to mesh with the ballet at all in the first place. You could argue that one in either direction, really, but I think it’s a strong point for anyone looking to criticise the film as much as praise it!

By: Russell /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-846 Wed, 16 Feb 2011 16:44:21 +0000 In reply to Hodge.

I find it strange that you don’t consider that hot, Hodge!

By: Marysia /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-845 Wed, 16 Feb 2011 12:03:24 +0000 I’d just like to point out that the original screenplay for the film was not even set in a ballet company never mind a production of Swan Lake, it was originally written set in the theatre world, so the underlying themes of the story have nothing to do with the outward trappings of Swan Lake. That is just an added layer of nice imagery.

By: Pet Jeffery /2011/02/15/check-out-my-ego-aronofskys-black-swan/#comment-844 Wed, 16 Feb 2011 09:26:48 +0000 “And for backstage meta kind of stuff, a lot of the 1950s musicals are still some of the most fun and unpretentious mainstream films you can watch…”

Going back a bit further, Busby Berkeley musicals are also a lot of fun. Such films as 42nd Street and Gold Diggers of 1933 Unfortunately, you need a multi-region DVD player for this box of delights:

Without re-watching them (which I’ll certainly do at some point) I can’t be 100% certain, but I feel pretty sure that these 1930s Busby Berkeley musicals pass the Bechter test.