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Black swan analysis - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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My analysis of the film Black swan.

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Black swan analysis

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Key mise en scene

  • The ballerina is shown wearing a knee length white ballet dress. The material is delicate, making her movement seem light and elegant. The colour white has connotations of purity and innocence, making the character seem vulnerable. The length of the dress could also suggest her purity as she is not showing too much skin.
  • Around the ballerina the setting is pitch black. There is a strong white spotlight on her, to emphasize her so that the audience has all focus on her. The film makers maybe have done this to clearly indicate her good hearted personality, but she is surrounded by darkness. Black has links to death, badness and evil which she is almost engulfed by. By doing this, it shows that she is isolated and so it would be easy for her to become influenced by evils. Another interpretation is that darkness prevents her from seeing, and so it demonstrates that the character is confused and lost throughout the film. Also, as the darkness makes the scene unclear and mysterious , it is signifying to the audience that the plot will have unexpected twists.
  • The spotlight on the ballerina creates a strong reflection of herself on the floor. This visually creates another image of herself. By doing this, it could give the impression that she has two sides to her personality that are always present.
  • The man seen is wearing black, to give the impression that he is a bad influence. Not only that, but as the darkness is dominant in the frame (and he is wearing dark colours) it implies that he is dominant. He then forms horns and a black, feathered collar. The horns have connotations to the devil, and so he is clearly displayed an evil character. The feathers could indicate that he is the black swan, and so he has similarities to the ballerina in the way that she is also meant to be a swan.

Key sound and music

  • The first sound heard isa solo wind instrument, gentle and elegant sounding. This reflects mournful the ballerina as she is portrayed as being light on her feet and graceful. Not only that, but it could also reflect her personality, she is delicate and peaceful. However, the sound also has a mournful quality, and so it suggests that underneath she is sad for some reason.
  • The music becomes stronger in beat and upbeat sounding, more instruments are heard. This could be to imply how the ballerina is growing in confidence as she continues to dance. Another interpretation is that it is signifying her emotions, she seems to be getting more excited or joyful as she dances. This implies that the character has a strong passion for ballet and dance, and might make sacrifices for it.
  • As the man dancer appears, the music wavers and gets lower in pitch, which indicates how he is a character who can manipulate and change her. As soon as somebody else appears in the scene, it seems that she becomes less confident. Because of this, it gives the impression that she is easily vulnerable to distractions or enemies.
  • A whole orchestra is then heard as the man dances with the ballerina. The pace of the music is extremely quick, reflecting her panic now that the man is in control of her. As he transforms into a devil creature, the pitch becomes higher, demonstrating how he has bad intentions and is making her feel highly strung and alarmed.

As the man approaches the ballerina sat on the floor, the camera tracks him from behind. It makes the audience feel as if they are supporting him, and so it makes the ballerina seem even more isolated and alone. Because of this, we get the impression that she is in danger, and that as a character she is prone to trouble when other people are involved. Not only that, but the camera is hand held. The shakiness of the shot implies that the action is going to increase, making us feel uncertain and anxious for her.

  • As the two begin to dance, there is a close-up of the ballerina’s face, the man behind her. The effect of this is that we fully see her emotions, her eyes show worry whereas the man behind her looks confident. The shot id fairly quick as the two characters are rotating and spinning around. After the shot she is then pulled away from the camera, as if she is slipping away from us. This foreshadows that she is going to disintegrate throughout the film, and that she will not have anybody to save her.
  • As they spin in sync with each other, the camera moves in circular motions with them. It is visually disorientating, and so it could demonstrate how the film will be confusing and unclear. Also, as the camera circles around them quite a few times (and the ballerina is stuck in the circle) , it implies that she will be trapped in a cycle throughout the film that she cannot escape from.
  • As they are dancing in circles, the characters have equal amounts of screen time and are the same distance from the camera. By doing this, it is portraying that good and evil are alike and one does not outweigh the other. This suggests that personalities can coincide with each other, perhaps in the same person.

Key camerawork


The ballerina glances down wards, a motivated cut is used ofher feet. As feet are an essential aspect of being able to do ballet, it is focusing our attention to her feet. She looks downwards in a graceful way, as if she is appreciating the ability of being able to dance, almost worshipping it. From this, we get the impression that ballet is a large part of her life, as if it is virtually her religion to dance.

  • She is sat down, her back is to us. It then cuts to the man walking up behind her. Before this, the cuts are few and they flow together. However, this cut is abrupt and unexpected, which implies that the two characters do not gel well together, and conflict will be caused when in each other’s presence. As he seems to be more dominant in the frame, it suggests to the audience that he is going to overpower her.
  • As the ballerina and the man dance, there are no cuts- just one continuous shot. He seems to be causing distress to her. This indicates that throughout the film when she is in bad situations, they will continue as she does not know how to escape them.
  • The end of the dance scene is indicated with a jump cut to the ballerina waking from sleep. A transition of a cross fade is used, which makes the jump smoother and relaxed feeling. Because of this, it gives the implication that she was dreaming the dance, and that she enjoyed it. As she was dreaming herself to be performing the dance, it seems to be an appealing thought to her. This indicates that she thinks about performing a lot, and she dreams of being onstage. However, the content of the dance is disturbing and chaotic. As she seems happy about this unsettling dream, it gives the impression that she is slightly neurotic or deranged.

Key editing