All About Eve meets The Red Shoes? That’s how Darren Aronofsky‘s foray into the ballet world might play out. The director has recently cited both these classics as sources of inspiration, although the movie’s plot line – a ballerina faces her inner demons as she is picked to dance the lead in Swan Lake – seems to recall yet another vintage movie, 1947′s The Unfinished Dance.
Aronofsky has also indicated Black Swan might be a follow up of sorts to its predecessor, the excellent 2008 Golden Lion winner, The Wrestler, a look at the professional wrestling circuit from the angle of an ageing and decadent “has-been”. His movies often explore how people are shaped by their surroundings as well as the complexity of social interactions, which means we might finally get a sensitive, imaginative and well-observed commentary on the realities of the ballet world, usually a backdrop for lighter entertainment.
Linda and I are huge fans of Aronofsky’s very European directing style – having even referenced him in one of our ballet reviews. For the past few weeks we have been collating Black Swan pieces scattered around the web. So while we wait for the trailer, here’s a link roundup:
Black Swan is set to premiere this fall at the Venice International Film Festival. The psychological ballet thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) will open the fest on September 1st. Via Rogue Ballerina
Also: the opening date in US Theatres is set for 1 December 2010.
The Cast & Plot
The dark tale with psychological twists stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a technically brilliant ballerina whose life takes some strange turns after being picked as the lead in a New York City [Ballet] production of Swan Lake. Pressures mount as her overbearing mother (Barbara Hershey) pushes her to succeed and her manipulative dance master (Vincent Cassel) commands her to be more seductive and loose in her performance.
Complicating matters is the arrival of Lily (Mila Kunis), a sultry dancer who exhibits all the innate ease and sexuality that Nina lacks. Nina begins to fixate on the newcomer as the two forge an unusual relationship. Via USA Today
Also: Winona Ryder appears as a retiring ballerina. Pennsylvania Ballet dancers feature as the corps de ballet. Portman is doing most of her dance scenes but for the longer shots ABT’s Sarah Lane is her double. ABT’s Maria Riccetto is Mila Kunis’s double. NYCB’s Benjamin Millepied choreographed the dance sequences.
Style & Mood
…director Darren Aronofsky compares the splattery sequence in Black Swan with a gruesome scene in his previous film, The Wrestler, when Mickey Rourke is attacked by a staple-gun-wielding rival. He stresses that his gothic tale with hints of Hitchcock is several grand jettes [sic] away from such ballet-themed soap operas as 1977′s The Turning Point. “Maybe only The Red Shoes had a realistic point of view of this unique world,” Aronofsky says of the 1948 classic. “It captured the human drama and the sacrifice.” Via USA Today
In what is probably one of the most exciting cinematic collaborations that we’ve heard so far this year, Darren Aronofsky – director of the incredible Requiem For A Dream – has commissioned Rodarte design sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy to create costumes for his psychological thriller about ballet Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.
Their lastest collection looked a touch like unfocused decoupage and may not have been our favourite work by the Mulleavy girls, but it’s entirely conceivable that, as costume designers, they will create some pretty frothy and fabulous looking ballerina garb. Via Pedestrian TV