Thursday, 10 March 2011

Give me somebody to dance for, give me somebody to be!

(Lyrics: Let Me Dance for You | Chorus Line, 1985)

Finally, finally, I jumped on the Black Swan bandwagon on Sunday evening having wanted to see the film for a-g-e-s; and I really rather enjoyed it. I'm not saying it was the best film ever made in the history of fabulous films but there was a certain intensity and vulnerability to Nina that was consistently believable no matter how outlandish her imaginings became.

There were some sublimely ridiculous moments that only felt acceptable once it was clear these were figments of Nina's shattering imagination; there were also some moments of profound clarity. The theme of control was dominant; Nina was excessively controlled by her mother, by the ballet company, and by herself, although her grip on that control loosened dramatically; ultimately the element of her psyche that had given in to the Black Swan was her controller.

Incidentally the casting of Barbara Hershey and Natalie Portman as mother and daughter is smart and intuitive; the two look alike for a start, and have the same stony fragility that would lead one to believe that Nina has been forged in her mother's image.

And here is a lovely trailer, gleaned from the Casa de YouTube:

Black Swan got me thinking about another dance film I love...

Staying Alive.

Yes, Sylvester Stallone's seminal commentary on... staying alive; the sequel to Saturday Night Fever; set five years on from Tony Manero's first, legendary outing.

(Disclaimer: Any sarcasm in this tribute is borne of genuine affection!)

(uploaded to YouTube by chakasmoothjazz)

This scene is fabulous (and here it's dubbed in Spanish, awesome!) -- let's disregard the fact that the same dance steps are performed in the film in sequence over... and over... and over... sometimes in slow-mo.

Things to love in this scene especially:

Cynthia Rhodes' casually archetypal 80s get-up at the start of the scene (that beret!)

Screengrab from DVD

The kitsch cityscape stage set (I wanted this on my bedroom wall, no joke)
The kitsch city jazz score
Finola Hughes' hair-dancing
The line: "Got any messages? ...It's an inside joke."

And earlier, the line: "Guys like you aren't relationships, you're exercise!" from this hardcore rock chick with her simu-sartorial friend:

Screengrab from DVD
This film = the reason I love the 1980s.

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