I’m quite sure by now you’ve all heard of this movie. It doesn’t open in my country until mid February but thanks to the wonderful wonders of the internet I’ve seen it already. It was a movie I was quite looking forward to watching and that managed to live up to its expectations, but I’m bias, I tend to like this kind of bizarre mind trips.
Directed by Darren Arranofsky, the movie deals with the production of Swan Lake by a ballet company, something that requires a ballerina to play both the innocent White Swan and the sensual Black Swan. The dancer chosen, Nina (played by Natalie Portman), is a perfect fit for the White Swan, but while trying to tap the darkness needeed to portray the Black Swan, things take a turn for the worse.
Something that helped hype this movie for me, were the wonderful collection of posters. The ones I’ve featured above already, were the ones used more often, but there were a few other marvelous teasers, that were created by British design studio LaBoca. Influenced by Polish and Czech posters of the 60s and 70s, as well as ballet advertisements of the early 20th century, these use some kind of mingled image of Nina and the swan of the title, to portray the duality of the film’s main character. All follow a color scheme of black, red and white (which are also pretty much the predominant colors of the film’s palette along with pink).
Another much anticipated factor was the wardrobe, part of which was designed by Rodarte’s sister design team Kate and Laura Mulleavy. The sisters never hid their love of horror films and they used it to create all the ballet outfits worn onstage, which consisted of feathers, tulle and 247.000 crystals donated by Swarovski.
To get a better grasp of the outfits, one has to consider the Swan Lake plot. The ballet is the story of Odette, an enchanted princess under a spell of the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart; she has been transformed into a swan by day and can only regain her human form at night. The only way for the spell to be broken is by the power of eternal love between Odette and a young man who will remain faithful to her, if the vow of eternal love is broken, she will remain a swan forever. Odette meets Prince Siegfried and they fall in love, but when Rothbart realizes this, he tries to intervene, by tricking Siegfried into marrying his daughter Odile. The plan succeeds and Odette distraught kills herself.
The character of Von Rothbart’s evil alter-ego, created from waxy black feathers, crow-like in their ominous feel. “We imagined him like a mechanical bird — his breast is even padded out like a bird,” Laura explained.
Apparently the Rodarte sisters liked the ballet experience so much, that they are now creating the wardrobe for a production of the Dutch National Ballet. You can read an interview with the sisters about the movie here.
MP3 = Thom Yorke – Black Swan (no relation to the movie, other than the obvious title and the fact that it appeared in the closing credits of A Scanner Darkly, which stars Winona Ryders, who also appears in Black Swan)