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‘Black Swan’: C’est Non ‘Dogtooth’

January 26, 2011

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.



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3 Responses to “ ‘Black Swan’: C’est Non ‘Dogtooth’ ”

  1. anncine on January 26, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I MUST SEE DOGTOOTH. Coincidentally, I have a very similar dance routine with E. Constabulary.

  2. John on January 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    DOGTOOTH made my top ten of 2010. Highlight of my first viewing of it was the guy next to me that keep muttering “Serbian Film” over and over to his friend each time something a little bananas would happen. I usually don’t care for those that talk during films but this oddly brought me some kind of sick twisted joy as his friend sunk further and further into his chair and averted his eyes from the screen.

  3. Jane on January 27, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Anne – you will enjoy!

    John – I still haven’t seen Serbian Film (soon!) but Dogtooth really tickled me – there were enough parts that made me laugh to the point of nearly choking. Good times….