107 minutes| U.S.A.| 2010| Colour| Anamorphic| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm

Having given Mickey Rourke arguably the role of his career in The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky pulls out another plum for Natalie Portman, who digs deeper than ever before for this full-on combination of backstage drama and psychological thriller. Portman is simply perfect casting as the prima ballerina who shines as the innocent white swan in maverick choreographer Vincent Cassel’s new production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Since he also wants her to play the evil alter-ego black swan however, there’s trouble ahead. Thanks to seductive Cassel and sassily liberated fellow dancer Mila Kunis, Portman starts to get in touch with her inner bad-girl, which does not go down well with her over-protective, controlling mum Barbara Hershey. Conflicting demands point the way towards a fracturing of her personality, indeed her grip on reality, as Aronofsky outdoes even The Red Shoes in a show-stopping finale encapsulating the creative impulse at its most dangerously intoxicating. This is truly delirious filmmaking. Be sure to fall under its spell. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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