We watched Black Swan tonight. If you’ve not seen the film, this might constitute a spoiler.
Pat, Jo and I are lying on the sofas watching the movie and I very quickly become angry. Nina, a ballet dancer, lives in an oppressive relationship with her mother, an ex-dancer who is living vicariously though her daughter. She seems supportive, but there’s a huge amount of emotional manipulation going on. When Nina disappoints her, she throws tantrums. When Nina gets the part of the Swan Queen, I believe her mother becomes jealous of her success and begrudges her, although to be honest my body had become so defensive when the mother was on screen by this point that I don’t know whether that’s actually the case.
Every time her mother comes on screen, I feel physically sick. My stomach churns. I respect that Nina has probably made a decision to follow dance, but Jo suggested what she thought my issue with this movie might have been, and it’s certainly one aspect - the self perpetuation of the manipulation, oppression, expectation, health degradation and self mutilation in the ballet industry, by the ballet industry, is repugnant. Nina’s mother, like so many other people in history, repeat on their children that which was done to them. It happened to me, so why not to them? It disgusts me.
At one point I had to get up and do something else. I couldn’t watch it any more. I must say the director did an outstanding job of portraying the emotional energy on a screen. I can cope with bloody, gory violent movies, but give me emotional violence of this level and I’m affected tremendously.