Textual Analysis 7: ‘Black Swan’ Opening Title Sequence

Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Darren Aronofsky and written by Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, and John McLaughlin.

It stars Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis and Winona Ryder.

The plot revolves around the producion of the  Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet by a big New York City company. The production requires a ballerina to play the role of the the innocent white swan, which is the perfect  role for Nina (Natalie Portman) and also the role of the dark, sensual black swan which is better suited to Lily (Mila Kunis). Nina then finds herself  competing to breaking point to get the role. The audinece sees her experience obsession, passion and immense pressure.

The Title Sequence

When the sequence starts, the audience see a blank screen fade into  white-ish colour. A black line then runs through the centre of the frame. Dark, eerie music is then gradually introduced and above the black line is filled with blackness. two swans then appear and run opposite each other along the line, both contrasting the colour of their background.

When the swans are near the end of the line, the sequence takes a hard hit as a massive red line crashes into the sequence and the background its now fully black.

The sequence then transitions to a white background, with black feathers falling. until they cover the whole frame. The constant switches between a black background and a white background is representative of the battle between Nina (the perfect white swan) and Lily (the perfect black swan).

The text throughout the sequence is very formal and conservative. This could be representative of the perfectionism in Nina, as the text looks neat and perfect.

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