Black Swan (2010) — Homage It! Homage It!


Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Noah, The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream). Starring Natalie Portman (Star Wars prequel trilogy; V for Vendetta; The Seagull; Thor), Mila Kunis (Family Guy; That 70s Show; Ted), and Vincent Cassel (Shrek; La Haine; Irreversible; Ocean’s Twelve).

Quick post. Inventive cinematographic techniques you may see in modern movies helmed by thoughtful directors often come from older chapters in cinema. Black Swan has a high-energy dance sequence in which Nina (Natalie Portman) is encouraged/intimidated by her instructor Thomas (Vincent Cassel) and is also jarred by the entrance of Mila Kunis’s character. Start at 0:34 for the camera technique:

The spinning visual language here is seemingly related to a section from The Red Shoes, a 1948 British ballet film directed by the directing duo known as The Archers (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger). Start clip at 0:24 for the same spinning cuts. Apologies for there being no sound in this second video. What’s crazy is that the dancer is dancing Swan Lake in this part of the movie, just like in Black Swan!

Just know that what you see isn’t always out of nowhere — the technique is effective in both films, with the later one most likely being inspired in part by the earlier one.