Brooklyn born Darren Aronofsky, one of my all time favourite contemporary filmmaker’s is currently filming his newest release Black Swan. The critically acclaimed director of the dark classics Requiem for a Dream and Pi, has written and is now directing a supernatural thriller about a ballerina competing against a rival dancer who may be another version of herself.
This intriguing story has the unexpected all star cast of Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey and Vincent Cassel. What’s more if you are not immediately drawn in by the undoubted promise of Aronofsky’s signature intense and beautiful filmmaking, then perhaps you will be tempted by the ecstasy-induced aggressive angry sex scene between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.
In a recent interview Portman said “I’m trying to find roles that demand more adulthood from me because you can get stuck in a very awful cute cycle as a woman in film”. Well, if you want a director who has the ability to strip you of all your childlike innocence in one swift scene then (as Jennifer Connelly found out in Requiem for a Dream) Aronofsky is your man. Similarly Portman’s co-star Kunis is about to take a big step forward out of easily defined Hollywood genre movies, and prove to us that she can pull off dark and edgy and not just cute and funny.
Although critics of Black Swan’s script say it seems little self-indulgent, with too much ‘empty time and space’ (meaning it looks like it will feature long shots of not much at all) I think they grossly under-estimate Aronofsky’s directing abilities. When you remember back to Pi and Requiem for a Dream they are both slow paced films, often with long shots of walking or a cup of coffee, yet in my opinion these are two of the most epic movies ever made – so what’s down on paper doesn’t necessarily give anything away!
Furthermore, when the words “ballerina” and “dance rivalry” are mentioned Darren Aronofsky is not by any means the first director who would spring to mind. However, when delving into the second part of the synopsis: competing against a dancer who may be another version of herself, it all clicks into place. Aronofsky’s perhaps David Lynch-esk take on this classic worn out genre becomes apparent, and I for one can’t wait to see where his unpredictable mind will take it.
Due for release this year with Fox Searchlight officially behind it, I think Black Swan will definitely be one to watch out for!