Finally saw Black Swan after last week’s infinite-queue debacle. First things first, the film was brilliant, but I’m not gonna talk too much about it here because the internet people are not keen on spoilers. I was expecting it to be pretty similar to The Wrestler (to which it is a sort of conceptual sequel, or companion film), but in some ways it was almost identical. They both include drawn-out shots of the titular character walking to the venue whilst being followed by the shaky camera. On the big screen this makes you feel a bit sick. They both have scenes where the main character goes out for drug-fuelled fun, has a sexual encounter, and then the next day are late for a hugely important event. Nina (the Swan) and Randy (the Ram) both suffer injuries to skin and flesh, and both vomit after performances/rehearsals. They both... – this and that, there are loads of similarities – and the two films have exactly the same ending (a leap into death... oops, spoiler alert).
Then of course the main similarity between Black Swan and The Wrestler is they are both about physical artists whose lives are destroyed by their obsession or addiction to their respective art forms. They destroy their bodies, their health, their sanity, and their personal relationships to be the perfect ballerina, or the same top-of-the-bill wrestling superstar they were twenty years ago. Nina struggles to leap into the dark side to take on the role of the Black Swan, and descends into self harm and insanity. Randy ‘the Ram’ Robinson’s ‘black swan’ is the dark world of ultraviolent hardcore wrestling which he turns to in order to pay the bills, but which directly precedes his heart attack.
Films always seem to come in trilogies now (for better or worse), which makes me speculate what might be next. Gymnast’s lives are probably too similar to ballerinas. Clowns are not popular anymore, so would have to be set early 20th century-ish. Performance artists like Chris Burden (who had himself shot in the arm as a work of art) or Vito Acconci (who lay in an art gallery wanking and telling visitors what he wanted to do to them) are not fooling anyone and would probably not be seen sympathetically. I think two films is enough, and I hope the director doesn’t end up make a shit film to bring the number up to three.
At the start of today’s blog I said I wasn’t going to talk about Black Swan much, or give away any spoilers. I was wrong on both counts. Sorry; I’d better put one of those ‘spoiler warnings’ at the top. And I’ve just thought what could possibly make an interesting end to a trilogy. How about stand-up comedian? They tour constantly, party hard, become alcoholics, ruin their personal lives through touring and taking the piss out of everything, become completely obsessed, give large performances, have career highs and lows... The story was already told somewhat with Man on the Moon about Andy Kaufman, which is pretty good despite the presence of Jim Carrey. Other comedians lives who could influence the character could be Bill Hicks, Malcolm Hardee, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Peter Cook, Frank Sidebottom, etc etc etc. It would be all about taking the joke too far. But it’s not for me to make; over to you, Darren Aronofsky. Just give me a couple of million dollars and a credit. Cheers.