‘Black Swan’: C’est Non ‘Dogtooth’
I like dance movies. I prefer my dance movies to be blatantly, unabashedly stupid and I am happiest when such a film features a dance-off of sorts. I recently saw Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and I feel like I had reasonable expectations going into it. I knew it would be beautifully shot. I suspected that the storyline would be dark in tone. Most importantly, I did not expect to see – no matter how badly I may have wished for it - a dance-off.
Based on my enjoyment of his previous film The Wrestler, I fully anticipated to have my face melted by Black Swan…and yet, I did not. Sure, it was gorgeous looking and I did enjoy the last 20 minutes of it (I happen to be a fan of gross, Cronenberg-esque, body-horrors and Black Swan certainly had it’s fair share) but I spent most of it thinking to myself, ‘This is a lot like Center Stage. I would rather be watching Center Stage’. The comparison probably seems superficial at best (and that’s because it is) but the instant I saw Aronofsky’s Bleeding Ballerina Feet Montage, I couldn’t stop myself – Center Stage also features a Bleeding Ballerina Feet Montage and I dare say, Center Stage (in all of it’s ridiculous glory) did it better. From there on the comparisons to other films kept coming – Teeth and Fight Club being the most amusing, at least to me. At least one among my group who watched it shared my less-than-enthusiastic sentiments regarding the film, but more often than not I hear nothing but beaming accolades and respect for this movie.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what bothered me so much about Black Swan. I feel like the experience of watching it was a bit of bait and switch – CAMP dressed in PRETENTIOUS ART HOUSE FILM’S CLOTHING – like ordering a Martini and getting a Fuzzy Navel instead.
As of this posting, I have just finished watching a film called Dogtooth, which has effectively cornered the market on movies about dysfunctional familial relationships, striving for perfection, obedience/discipline, rivalry, girl-on-girl cunnilingus, bodily harm and yes, DANCING – all themes superficially shared with Black Swan. Bugfuck Art House Pretension served straight up, no mixers.