Friday, 23rd June 2017


Realism & magic realism

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Niño ManaogBy Niño Manaog

Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan surely catches our attention because Natalie Portman’s Nina Sayers grows feathers after she kills Mila Kunis’s Lily backstage to perform the Black Swan role in the final act. You cannot just forget the film because of that.

This psychological thriller—featuring Natalie Portman’s Nina Sayers, a ballerina haunted by some schizophrenic ambition—brims with magic realism, an aesthetic style in which “magical elements are blended into a realistic atmosphere in order to access a deeper understanding of reality.”

The effects particularly in the final ballet scene where Nina grows more feathers than the previous times it appeared would surely remind us of the film.

Because of the device used, we are made to believe that “magical elements are explained like normal occurrences that are presented in a straightforward manner” allowing the “real” (Nina Sayers dream to be the Swan Queen) and the “fantastic” (she really becomes a Swan) to be accepted in the same stream of thought.

The obsession to become the Swan Queen later brings into the character graphic hallucinations that eventually cost Nina Sayers’ life.

Natalie’s facial features being transformed into a swan—rouged eyes, aquiline nose and elongated neck—all compliment to a dramatic flourish—where at the end of the performance, even we the audience could be convinced that she very well looks as the best Swan Queen for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

While Nina Sayers’ obsession for the Swan Queen role is enough persuasion, the horrific undertones notwithstanding, we the audience get the eerie feeling in Aronofsky’s close-up shots of the lead character who dances her way to death as the ambition-obsessed ballerina who lived and was haunted by realities she herself created.

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