Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Black Swan

The bureau chief saw Roman Polanski's "Repulsion" back during his salad days. Being young I found it creepy but quite a black humor hoot. Years later I tried to re-watch it but found it too disturbing. I felt sorry for Catherine Deneuve. I felt the same way about Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan". Although the films' plots are totally different, they share the same machinery---let's watch one of the most beautiful women on the planet fall apart, one  in a London apartment and the other in a New York ballet company, and let's wallow in the voyeuristic delight of her abjection.

As we would expect, Polanski faced the tawdry horror film elements and porny thrills and went for it. Who can forget the rotting rabbit or the straight edged razor? Bravo. Aronofsky, on the other hand, wraps it in a high art package but it's not fooling us. It's the same thing. (The bureau chief wants to mention that he is not against voyeurism but against dishonest voyeurism.)

Stuart Klawans, The Nation's fine film reviewer, had a wonderful time reviewing "Black Swan". I genuflect to him and here's my favorite paragraph:

"I laughed longer and louder than at any other movie this year; but before you try doing the same, be aware that you'll have to twitch and sigh through the first two-thirds, and then, when it gets good, face the wrath of people who are taking "Black Swan" seriously.

How they do it, I can't imagine."

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