USA | Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey
Nina is a talented ballerina whose passion for the dance rules every facet of her life, directed by her intense mother who is determined that she will succeed. When the leading ballet company's artistic director decides to replace his prima ballerina for their opening production of "Swan Lake," Nina is his first choice. While Nina is perfect for the role of the White Swan, newcomer Lily personifies the Black Swan. As rivalry between the two dancers transforms into a twisted friendship, and on the verge of stardom, Nina's dark side begins to emerge and her reality slips into a waking nightmare. This high melodrama, inspired by The Red Shoes and other the fairytales of Hans Christian Anderson, this Oscar-winning performance from Natalie Portman, who learned ballet for the role.
Screening as part of Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell + Pressburger, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network. bfi.org.uk/powell-and-pressburger.
To complete our season of films about art and obsession we look at the art of dance within the work of Powell and Pressburger. In the 1940s, as the world was at war and crumbling, artists of all stripes were experimenting with their form. Taking a decisive step away from realism in post-war film and falling in love with fantasy, they created some of their most magical experiences on screen by trying to find a way to bring the most glorious and bold work they had seen on stage into cinemas where they could be enjoyed by a wider audience. “We had all been told for 10 years to go out and die for freedom and democracy,” Powell recalled. “Now the war was over, The Red Shoes told us to go out and die for art.”
Around this time animators were also trying to spread their wings and play with the artform. These grand experiments in pairing music, dance and animation the UK from Halas and Batchelor and in the US from Walt Disney.