Expressionism in The Black Swan Essay

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The Black Swan is a psychological thriller that documents a prima ballerina’s descent into madness. Nina Sayers is a dancer at a New York City ballet company. Her mother is a very controlling, ex-ballerina whose career ended when she became pregnant with Nina. Having forced his current prima ballerina into retirement, Thomas Leroy, the company's director, is searching for someone worthy enough to play the Swan Queen in his next production. Despite his doubts about her ability to successfully dance the role of the Black Swan, he gives the role to Nina. However, Nina fears Lily is trying to steal the Swan Queen role from her especially when Leroy makes Lily Nina’s understudy. As they move further into the production, Nina's strive for …show more content…
To emphasize Nina’s OCD, Aronofsky exploits sound effects. The movie opens with Nina dancing as the White Swan. The ballet cuts out and we see Nina waking up in her bed. She sits up and immediately begins stretching and warming up her ankles to begin practice. As Nina rolls her ankles and alternates between pointing and flexing her feet, the audience can distinctly hear the crack of every bone. Stretching her ankles before getting out of bed shows her obsession, perfection will not come without constant practice in Nina’s obsessive mind. Aronofsky exploits sound here by eliminating all background noises so the only sound we hear is the repetitive cracking which sounds painful. Viewers imagine all the pain she has endured because this obsession. (Scene one) Leroy enters the studio unannounced to begin his search for the Swan Queen. He taps several girls on the shoulder and instructs that the girls he did not tap should report for their audition. Nina is first up in the audition for the role. Her White Swan is flawless but she fails to truly let go of herself when dancing the Black Swan. Thomas excuses her after Lily enters the audition late. Upon arriving home she puts her pointe shoes on and attempts to perfect her Black Swan. As she practices Fouette turns, her toe nail cracks in two. The director uses sound and camera exploitation to intensify this scene. Suddenly changing focus from slow motion of her
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