I saw Black Swan, finally, the other day, and it was marvellous. Obviously I'm ridiculously late to the discussion of this movie so everything will have been said much better already, but personally what struck me most was the effectiveness of the point of view construction. Even though I knew that it was about mental illness and distorted realities, going in, the tension still worked on me and there were still moments when I was unsure what was really happening and what was Nina's projection. I found it an incredibly effective demonstration of emotional reasoning: I feel afraid therefore there is something to be afraid of. I found it plunged me as an audience member to the same sort of doubt and confusion and unspecified terror that Nina was feeling.
Specific details of the movie worked better for the friend I went with than they did for me (at first I couldn't really get 'into' Nina seeing glimpses of herself everywhere--whereas that instantly hooked my friend in), but it all evened out in the end. She struggled with the webbed feet moment, whereas I instantly ran with that. But such little differences didn't seem to make any difference to our overall appreciation of the movie. The direction was just so incredibly tight and sophisticated and every element reflected the central premise so perfectly. It felt like there wasn't a stray detail. Even things that I am slightly confused by (the mother's paintings--I felt like I didn't really understand the significance of them--were they all self-portraits?), I am sure were carefully constructed and thought out.
I found it particularly striking how much Nina projected onto those around her: her mother, Thomas and Lily. Even though at the beginning it was particularly obvious how much she was projecting onto Lily, I wavered in the course of the movie and began thinking there was something behind it. By the end, I was back to seeing Lily as completely innocent of intention to undermine her. Whereas I began by seeing Thomas as a complete sleaze, I warmed to him by the end of the movie and in retrospect he did very little to her in the way of sexual assault--it was largely just her fears. The question of her mother seems harder to tease apart. Certainly the relationship was a claustrophobic one and one in which Nina felt the weight of her mother's expectations and own buried issues. However, at times the mother felt like such a distorted monstrous figure that it could only have been at least partly projection on Nina's part.
Nina herself was such an uncomfortable character to be 'inside'--that in itself created so much tension, and right from the start the claustrophobic nature of her life was captured perfectly. It made us long for the moments of freedom and the 'break' from that tightly coiled tension, that Lily provided. Even with her first entrance, slamming the door, and walking unconsciously. In terms of dance, I found it amazing how much tension there was in watching Nina dance and *wishing* she would loosen up. I also found it interesting that while we see her transform literally into a swan, we never quite see her dance the seduction scene that so challenged her. We see her dance powerfully and we assume from audience reaction that the entire performance was a tour de force, but we never quite see it... that makes sense given how tightly we remain in Nina's point of view, but it also meant that the longing that was generated throughout--to see a really 'free' performance, remained until the very end. That 'perfect' moment was one we felt rather than saw. Fascinating.
Unlike many vidders, I don't feel a need to vid the movie. I felt like everything that I would want to say was said in the movie. Which is not to say that I couldn't be blown away by a vid of it from someone else, just that despite loving the material and the visuals, I don't have that incentive to vid it myself. I'll be interested to see what others tease out of it though.
2011 also seems to involve a lot of asking for help... so in the spirit of that... I was given a sewing machine for Christmas (yes, I'm horribly spoilt), and I have been playing around with it. My last experience of a sewing machine was some horrible old clunky thing in textiles class, with which I managed to sew right through my finger (the needle broke off halfway through and poked out the other side). This contraption is a million times more marvellous and can perform such wonders as buttonholes and zips! \o/ I am greatly enjoying playing around and so far have achieved very simple pillow covers, a drawstring skirt and a wrap skirt, all reasonably ugly. I am giving myself six months to create something non-ugly. That seems reasonable, no? So I am very much in need of SEWING ADVICES!!!! Any tips for beginners with no natural talent?!
I have been scowering the net for help, with varying success. Two main problems so far:
a) the overabundance of fugly twee craft things that I would never in a million years make
b) so far I only know how to sew non-stretch fabrics (even though machine can sew stretch I am scared of it!) and it's hard to find even semi-attractive non-stretch fabric in the regular stores. This second one I've made progress with by shopping online or at a place near me where Project Runway get their supplies, but even so... I am also slightly hampered by my own shaky sense of style. I am sure if I had better taste and visual mind I'd be able to think up better creations! Any tips for developing these?
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