But what does it mean?
What does it mean to regret
when you have no choice?
It was death.
I chose life.
“French actress Judith Godrèche’s Hitchcockian heroine faces an imminent tragic demise in these ominous scenes from Alex Prager’s La Petite Mort, a surreal exploration of sexual ecstasy and mortality. “They say that orgasm is the one time in life you are closest to death because all your senses but one shut down. I really liked that poetic way of describing it,” explains Los Angeles-based Prager. Referring to the morbid impulse to treat tragedy as a spectator sport [Prager] interrogates the viewer’s passive complicity with pictures that mix extreme close-ups of melodramatic eyes with cinematic tableaux reflecting media coverage of natural disasters and premeditated violence. Says Prager: “I did not want to draw from specific events, but it was a way for me to deal with the hopelessness I was feeling about the world. Creating a parallel universe where tragedies happen but with a sense of lightness as well.””
It begins in the nightmarish aftermath of Kevin’s rampage. While he serves time in a youth facility, we meet what remains of Eva Ktachadourian (outSTANDing Tilda Swindon) ; a woman etching out the most moribund of existences. Once the model of liberal aloofness, she now lives in shadows; dodging confrontation in supermarkets, getting assaulted in the street, having her home vandalised, all the while absolutely accepting of her role as mother of a mass murderer.
“Do you know where you’re spending the afterlife?” asks a doorstep preacher.
“I’m going straight to hell”, states Eva very matter of factly.
At night her mind’s landscape looks like a fractured kaleidoscope of past events, close and distant, real and imagined – there’s barely any distinction. Numbed with wine and pills she spends hour upon torturous hour agonising over to what extent she is responsible; was Kevin born evil or did he somehow ingest her discontent with motherhood in utero. While Eva struggles with this chicken and egg style conundrum, it soon becomes clear that no amount of subtle resentment could have created something so abhorrent.
Baby Kevin cries relentlessly and will only calm down around his father (John C. Reilly). Toddler Kevin he refuses to speak or interact. As a young child he forgoes potty training and instead practices the subtle art emotional blackmail . Under the guise of a study, Eva constructs a shrine to her former charmed and independent lifestyle prior his arrival - Kevin understands this desecrates it immediately. Just another act of spite, suitably measured to keep his father blindly on-side. By being as despicable as he knows how, Kevin both corroborates and encourages Eva’s guilt, “Just because you’re used to something doesn’t mean you like it” he challenges his mother, “you’re used to me.”
Her failure to deny this accusation of dislike could only have strengthened Kevin’s destructive resolve - demonstrations of which became more pronounced and deadly as he becomes a teenager ( played by the stunning Ezra Miller.) By this time the resentment is so entrenched that any attempt by Eva to salvage any semblance of a relationship is met with a mixture of amusement and contempt from Kevin. There is nothing in him to be salvaged.
WNTTAK is an uncomfortable and absolutely necessary examination into the minefield of parenthood via the anomalies of parental guilt and moreover, parental love; perhaps the only love that will bind descent people to intolerable ones. As Eva picks though the broken egg shell remains of her life, sifting though the could-haves the would-haves, it becomes clear there was only ever one should-have. They should have talked about Kevin, which is exactly what they failed to do.
Happy New Year y’all! xoxo
My Joy Dir: Sergei Loznitsa
We Need To Talk About Kevin Dir: Lynne Ramsey
There are two ways to judge a film.
1. Is the story worth telling? (Yay.)
2. Could [the story] have been told any better? (Nay.)
So watch it because no one interprets ‘gangster’ like [director] Jacques Audiard or just because Tahar Rahim happens to be a really great actor/themostf*ckablethingIveeverseeninmylife
Watched with tha G-Mama yesterday…
Love ya Grandma
As competition for the lead/dual role of Odette/Odile hots up, company director Thomas (Vincent Cassel) has little doubt as to Nina’s capabilities to portray Odetta - the fragile and vunerable White Swan. However, playing Odile -the cunning and seductive Black Swan will require Nina to draw uopn the kind of psycho-sexual emotions of which he knows she has little - if any - experience, but a chance encounter leaves Tomas that there is something Nina simmering below the surface and duly selects her for the part.
Her joy is short lived however, when Nina is confronted with her nemisis in the form of Lily (Mila Kunis); a ‘wildcard’ ballerina from out of town. With her care-free demeanour and hypersexual allure, Lily intoxicates Nina out of all rationality whilst threatening to steal her beloved role from beneath her prima-perfect nose. Juxatsposed with this is Mother’s perverse attempts to save her ’sweet girl’ (a tag that breaks all boundaries of decency by worming it’s way into a sexual encounter) from the evils of womanhood, and Nina’s own guilt over the callous treatment of the has-been ballerina Beth (Winona Ryder) whom she’s unsurped. Soon enough, Nina’s tiny universe becomes a nasty mirage of peeling skin, snapping bones and downright disobedient reflections. As opening night approaches, reality continues to allude her grasp and Nina’s terrfiying metamorphisis into her Black Swan promises to be both her finest hour and ultimate destruction.
Now, ne’er in the brief the history of CLFmag has a film been poured and pondered over as obssessively as Black Swan, and although not without it’s glitches, (cliche end and the odd unnecessary special effect), it really is an enthralling exploration of all that is exquisite and macarbe. Whether you’re taken by director Darren Aronofsky’s unrelenting, up-close portrayal of paranoia, surrealism or just good-old drug fuckery, or Portman’s physical transformation to display of the exertions of this Olympic-level, self-mutilating artform, there’s so much to love. And if there was ever a more beguiling sight than Portman’s pained prima ballerina, I’d like to see it. Same for the lesbian scene to be honest (it really is that good), not to mention the classical score and errr, soft knits (ahhh). But if a film is to be measured by it’s ability to stay in your psyche after titles have rolled, Black Swan has earned it’s place amongst the modern classics of whatever genre it decides to fit it’s perfectly honed-self. (Just for the record, methinks the finale, of which I’ve posted a smidgen below, might be one of my all time favourite cinematic scenes). Besides, any criticism comes at the cost of allowing yourself to be transported into an elusive world that, for whatever reason, captures the imagination far in excess of it’s real-life representation.
But real life isn’t what you get here either.
What you do get is that classic tale of sweet dream gone PLEASE-MAKE-IT-STOP-waking nightmare; as such, Black Swan is a beautifully mental trip of a film.
I love being right.
You might have to use this link here. Now fly my pretties!
Update: Apparently the release date is Febraury?!
Son of a B***T!
Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem For A Dream) will open Venice Film Festival this Autumn.
Just like the book cover itself.
Even the film poster is a 10!
Just drowning in asthetics here people… so please Mr Ford, can we have some more?
But s’all good cos she goes to a cool school where everyone is cool and good looking and there’s a really beautiful lesbian teacher who loves Precious and all her classmates are cool and suddenly, instantly, inexplicably they are all her best friend and go see her in hospital where Lenny Kravitz is her nurse and he’s cool too they have parties and she hooks up Lenny with some chick and they laugh and Precious has new clothes even though she penniless but that don’t matter cos that’s just one of a million plot-holes and she’s writing the pain away ‘Dead Poets’ style and Mariah Carey is smirking and Oprah is smiling and everything’s gonna be cool…
Y’know what I mean??