It's been a few days since I saw Black Swan, and yet my brain is still reeling from it. It's intense, it's creepy, and it has more than a few jump-out-of-your-chair moments. It's the sort of film that weighs on the psyche for days afterward and warrants rumination and discussion. The dark psychology behind the story is absolutely compelling and is played out through the use of haunting visual images (i.e. mirrors abound in the film and are the cause of some pretty chilling moments).
All of this is just my long-winded way of introducing these graphic, 60's-inspired posters inspired by the film. Created by a British design studio, these advertisements capture the duality inherent in the main character, Nina (played by Natalie Portman...as if you didn't already know that) and in the role she portrays on stage in the ballet production of Swan Lake. The role calls for a dancer to simultaneously assume the grace, fragility, and physical perfection of the white swan, as well as the power and sinister seduction of the black swan. You can see where the struggle lies here, in trying desperately to conform to two very different ideals at once. Life soon imitates art, and it's no wonder Nina loses her grip on reality. I think the designers behind these posters did a beautiful job conveying all of this. The first image where the swan and dancer become one has a sinister quality to it that I find perfectly suited to the movie (and just might be my favorite in the series).
I can't help but think about our (i.e. my, society's) notion of ballerinas and the ballet world in general. Ballet is about attaining perfection, an ideal of beauty and refinement and poetry in motion. And yet, we don't really think about the not-so-pretty aspects of it: the physical injuries and deprivation, the intense physical and mental discipline and rigor, as well as the cutthroat competition among dancers. All of which makes it the ideal backdrop against which to play out this doubling and fracturing of the self that goes on in the film.
If you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend you do so; I know it's not the cheeriest of movies to watch over the holidays, but I promise you won't regret it! And after you've done so, tell me what you thought about it in the comments section.