There are things we are made to fear – monsters, war, the dark, sin, blood, the devil, psychosis… and then there’s ballerinas. When I first heard that Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Pi, The Wrestler) would be taking on an adapted story by Andrés Heinz about a dance company preparing for the opening of the famous Russian ballet ‘Swan Lake’, it goes without saying that I was intrigued. Aronofsky has a true understanding of the human psyche, especially some of the more disturbing – paranoia played a central role in the critically-acclaimed Pi (2008). When watching Black Swan for the first time, I had no idea what kind of disturbing world the audience would be thrown right in the middle of… and the merciless manner in which it’s done. Anyone who’s seen the frighteningly mind-bending final fifteen minutes of Requiem for a Dream (2000) might ask why anybody would expect even the least bit of reserve when it comes to Black Swan… but I mean, it’s just ballet, right?
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