“No artist is pleased… There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”- Martha Graham.
We all have endless potential to do what we want as human beings. To exercise that, we have our hobbies. These help us explore who we are, and we use them as a gateway to escape from the chaos our lives have in infinite amounts. However, we live in a capitalist society where we are fighting for each other’s attention so that everyone can watch or listen to what the person has created and bring in profits for their creations. After all, the companies’ primary source of profits is their customers’ attention spans. One such genre of content that people often see are motivational videos that advise you to do what you love.
It’s not a big deal to feel unmotivated. That’s where these videos come in to help you. But what if you don’t feel like doing your thing? What if this feeling has become one of those days when you think, “I want to be much better than the last, but I don’t know how”? You feel like others’ voices are pressuring you to do something new with your hobby and show it on social media, but you are just scared it won’t be perfect. That’s what Black Swan (the film and the song from MAP OF THE SOUL: 7) tries to explore, which this blog will delve into more.
“Black Swan” is a 2010 psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and stars Natalie Portman. Loosely inspired by the play “Swan Lake,” this film follows Nina Sayers, a New York City Ballet Company ballet dancer who lives with her overprotective and jealous mother, Erica. As the company will open its season with Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” dance director Thomas Leroy is on the lookout for a new dancer who can embody Odette (White Swan) and Odile (Black Swan). Nina has the innocence which makes her the White Swan but lacks the boldness and passion for being the Black Swan. What happens after she gets the role is what the film’s story showcases.
Yeah I think I’m goin’ deeper /
I keep losing focus /
Now let go of me, I hate this /
I’d rather go on my own feet /
I’ll jump into it /
At the deepest,
I saw myself.”
The common link between the film and BTS’ song is fear and insecurity. In the movie, Nina getting the dual roles of White Swan and Black Swan marks the beginning of her actual struggle: showing her authentic side. Being in the arts (ballet in this case) is an intense experience, with so much pressure to be the best compared to what other artists have done before you.
At home, Erica quit ballet to focus on Nina and treats her like a sweet girl (clearly seen in her bedroom: pink in color and filled with teddy bears and a music box), causing her development to be stuck between preteen and adulthood. Nina’s predecessor, Beth, was always the highlight of the ballet company’s season, and Nina worshiped her to the point she wanted to be perfect like her (going so far as to steal her belongings). All this puts pressure on Nina, which prevents her from becoming the Black Swan. What amplifies the harrowing journey she is on throughout the film is her gradually losing grip on her reality. This culminates in her finally losing herself to the performance where she becomes the Black Swan.
Whatever we do, there’s always a sense of fear that lingers around our heads. We become confused over combating it, making us insecure about our capabilities. But that’s the beauty of our emotions; negative emotions fuel us to do something meaningful for ourselves and others while taking our capabilities to new horizons. What we see in the film is this: people around Nina have differing opinions of her, and internally she thought some were right. However, in the climax, she proved everyone wrong by channeling her fears and insecurities. This is something that we can learn while attempting to be kind to ourselves.
Written By: Anugya
Edited By: Dae
Designed By: Achan
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