Black Swan just snagged up a few nominations over the Indie Spirit Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Actress. We just reviewed it on our Sound On Sight radio show, so take a listen after you watch these clips.
Black Swan follows the story of Nina (Portman), a ballerina in a New York City ballet company
whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her retired ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who zealously supports her daughter’s professional ambition. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side with a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.
Aronofsky conceived the premise by connecting his viewings of Swan Lake with an unrealized screenplay about understudies and the notion of being haunted by a double, similar to the folklore surrounding doppelgängers. The director also considered Black Swan a companion piece to his previous film The Wrestler, with both films’ worlds involving demanding performances for different kinds of art.