Together with our awesome sponsor Yumiko we have a new Black Swan giveaway. Four collector posters will be up for grabs (NB: see how to enter below) and this, along with the movie’s imminent US release (3 December, who else is counting down?), was the perfect excuse for us to scour the internet for the latest / most interesting related links. So first things first, here’s the ultimate Black Swan fix:
Interviews & Features
John Lopez for Vanity Fair “Natalie Portman on Black Swan: I’m Only Acting, Dammit!”:
The moment those first pictures of Natalie Portman hit the Web, her red eyes glowing beneath a black-magic tiara, Darren Aronofsky’s ballet-psycho-thriller Black Swan grand jete’d onto the cinephile radar with an air of incipient triumph…Yet, what anchors the film more than anything is Portman’s bravura turn as Nina, the fragile young ballerina who degagés into madness. Read full story at VF.com
Behind the scenes diary from Pennsylvania corps dancer Holly Lynn Fusco for Dance Spirit:
These have been some of the hardest scenes to shoot. Prior to any filming, we rehearse in a basement studio at SUNY Purchase with New York City Ballet principal and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied, former NYCB corps member and associate choreographer Kurt Froman and on-set ballet consultant Olga Kostritzky, a former School of American Ballet teacher. Olga epitomizes “tough love” and whips us into shape. But once we’re on set, everything changes. Because of the cameramen and equipment, the choreography often has to be altered to prevent collisions. Such is Hollywood! Read full diary at Dance Spirit
See also our interview with Amy Westcott, the movie’s costume designer.
Benjamin Millepied at the LA premiere on how he adapted the dance sequences to suit Natalie’s abilities:
“The white swan part was the most out of my comfort zone” Natalie Portman on the challenges her role presented:
“The ballet world was very hard to get into” Darren Aronofsky at London BFI press conference:
“People are gonna hate me for saying it but…” Mila Kunis’s take on the ballet world:
and finally, Mila and Natalie talk extreme training and our favorite girl Winona Ryder shares her experience of ballet:
Robert Beames for Obsessed With Film:
Best film I’ve seen all year. Left me devastated, excited, tense and emotionally drained. Tarantino will be a fool if he doesn’t give this the Golden Lion (unless something even better is coming up!). Aronofsky has made his first masterpiece and Portman must now be favourite for the Oscar. A perfect film that blends The Red Shoes with Antichrist, via Cronenberg. Read full review at Obsessed With Film
Den of Geek:
…This could take the form of a quick cut, close-up montage (recalling the medication/drug sequences of Pi and Requiem For A Dream) of cracking toe joints and bright red blisters, or, fittingly for a film about doubles, reflections and echoes, glimpses of horror in mirrors, or half-obscured faces. Such psychological red herrings keep surprising, and enthralling the viewer right through to the end, building to a final performance which both works as a fitting character arc crescendo, and a dazzling affirmation of the art of ballet, packing emotional and tonal complexity into its collision of music and dance… Read full review at Den of Geek
Debra Levine for American Film Institute Blog:
The pointe-shoe sequence serves a double purpose. It lures the much-desired male demographic, which may have been dragged to the theater. But by disassociating the foot from its body, Aronofsky signals his defiance of conventional dance-cinematography wisdom: that the medium shot makes for the most felicitous marriage of dance and film. (Decades of experimentation by the likes of Michael Powell, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Jack Cole have proved that the body in full view renders choreography coherent.) Disembodied arms, legs, torsos, and heads–often filmed in close-up–make BLACK SWAN perhaps not a great dance movie, but a visually powerful tour-de-force. Read full review at AFI Blog
Darren Aronofsky opened his screen talk at the 54th London Film Festival last month explaining how he hadn’t tried to avoid the overt hysteria from the ballet world “I didn’t try to avoid it at all, I hope I captured some of it. I wanted to make a film that was sort of a ballet, a dramatisation of Swan Lake so we weren’t really afraid of camp and melodrama.” Explaining that to outsiders ballet may be “a bizarre thing”, the director saw all this as the perfect opportunity to make a movie that was “kind of outrageous to film.” Read our full review
Websites & Other Links
“I Just Want to be Perfect” – calendar website from the POV of Nina Sayers with eerie video fragments
Twitter – Nina Sayers @theswanqueen
Black Swan Official Website - with tons of dark and twisted sections, including clips, galleries of stills, new videos, downloads of desktops icons and little Easter eggs hidden around
NYC Red Carpet Premiere Yumiko promo – Follow Yumiko on Twitter for details of how to enter & win 2 tickets for the November 30th movie premiere in New York
Black Swan Poster Promo:
Together with Yumiko and Fox Searchlight we are giving away FOUR exclusive Black Swan posters. “Awesome” does not even begin to describe these posters! They are like art prints with a very unique design which blends references to vintage movie poster with gig poster and Soviet propaganda art.
Posters are size 120 x 70 cm, printed in heavy stock paper with matte texture. As far as we know, they are not currently available to purchase (Natalie Portman Odile Teaser posters are the only ones currently being sold) – here are the four different designs:
How to enter
Use the comment form below or email us at theballetbag[at]gmail.com by 3 December (official Black Swan opening date in the US) and let us know:
Who is your all-time favorite Odette/Odile and why?
Feel free to illustrate your answer with links to photos or video. Yes you can pick Nina Sayers as your favorite Swan Queen if you wish! Be creative & good luck!
Entries from all over the globe are welcome. You have four chances to win!