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Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS

 
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Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 2/7/2012 10:36:41 PM   
courtneyross123

 

Posts: 8
Joined: 14/6/2012
From: Oxford, England
How has social context effected the way mental illness is presented [to] and received by audiences in the film Black Swan"

The film explores the mental strains brought to a woman, Nina, as she tries to achieve her dream of playing the role as both the white swan as well as the black. The swans are representational of the traits in which society expects women to conform to, Nina is seen as the white swan symbolising purity and vulnerability. However, the black swan symbolizes the confidence and dark nature that Nina does not have. When Lilly, Nina foil, appears her anxiety is heightened and this subsequently leads to her mental deterioration.
Nina struggles with schizophrenia, eating disorders and delusions. The film ends seemingly typical in which Nina murders Lily just before she plays the role of the Black Swan (her lifetimes dream) and we see she has achieved her needs to conform. However in an unconventional twist we find that Nina has not stabbed Lily but herself, not only bringing the end to her mental illness but to her social torment. Subsequently the audience sympathize with her because her death is due to the social pressures.

What do you think about this guys?

< Message edited by elab49 -- 2/7/2012 10:44:56 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 4/7/2012 4:06:13 PM   
vader100


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Joined: 30/9/2005
Ah Film studies. Great course to take because you get to watch films and then get the internet to do your homework for you.

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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 4/7/2012 4:08:26 PM   
elab49


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Courtney has reposted to expand on her own point of view on this - which is what our rules on homework threads require, that they give a base to start a discussion if people choose to post. 

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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 4/7/2012 5:40:18 PM   
kumar


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Joined: 2/10/2005

M Night Shyamalan couldnt have written that shit if he tried.

That is all i have to offer.

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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 4/7/2012 8:43:14 PM   
courtneyross123

 

Posts: 8
Joined: 14/6/2012
From: Oxford, England
Im a guy by the way :P i know its the name, i have been cursed by the rentals :P

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Post #: 5
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 4/7/2012 9:00:52 PM   
elab49


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Apologies - getting gender wrong on here is pretty much de rigeur 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 6
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 5/7/2012 3:23:22 AM   
doubtlesswonder


Posts: 2438
Joined: 21/10/2005
From: Yorkshire
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

Apologies - getting gender wrong on here is pretty much de rigeur 


Definitely. You know you've arrived if someone's got your gender wrong.

As for the main post...I'll admit that Black Swan confused the hell out of me. For a while, I was part convinced that Lily was a figment of Nina's imagination, or at least a physical manifestation of the parts of her personality that she kept buried. But that didn't make sense since everyone else could see Lily too.

I'm still not exactly sure what I think about that film, except that I love it. Let me have a think and I'll see if I can get back to you with an actual coherent response.

< Message edited by doubtlesswonder -- 5/7/2012 3:25:40 AM >


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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 5/7/2012 7:19:03 PM   
courtneyross123

 

Posts: 8
Joined: 14/6/2012
From: Oxford, England
Thank you for that if you could put your love for it into words that would be great :P but i do love it too

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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 5/7/2012 9:30:39 PM   
Riaz Ali

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 1/1/2012

quote:

ORIGINAL: courtneyross123

How has social context effected the way mental illness is presented [to] and received by audiences in the film Black Swan"

The film explores the mental strains brought to a woman, Nina, as she tries to achieve her dream of playing the role as both the white swan as well as the black. The swans are representational of the traits in which society expects women to conform to, Nina is seen as the white swan symbolising purity and vulnerability. However, the black swan symbolizes the confidence and dark nature that Nina does not have. When Lilly, Nina foil, appears her anxiety is heightened and this subsequently leads to her mental deterioration.
Nina struggles with schizophrenia, eating disorders and delusions. The film ends seemingly typical in which Nina murders Lily just before she plays the role of the Black Swan (her lifetimes dream) and we see she has achieved her needs to conform. However in an unconventional twist we find that Nina has not stabbed Lily but herself, not only bringing the end to her mental illness but to her social torment. Subsequently the audience sympathize with her because her death is due to the social pressures.

What do you think about this guys?


I saw a bit of the film and got bored of it. However, based on your brief summing up -

I have worked in mental health for 15 years (both on acute wards and rehab units) and have never encountered a schizophrenic using a swan to symbolise their purity and vulnerability. Neither have I met a schizophrenic who would stab themselves just before going out on stage.

I hope that helps...

(in reply to courtneyross123)
Post #: 9
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 5/7/2012 9:36:10 PM   
Lazarus munkey


Posts: 1650
Joined: 20/3/2006
From: out of nowhere

quote:

ORIGINAL: Riaz Ali


quote:

ORIGINAL: courtneyross123

How has social context effected the way mental illness is presented [to] and received by audiences in the film Black Swan"

The film explores the mental strains brought to a woman, Nina, as she tries to achieve her dream of playing the role as both the white swan as well as the black. The swans are representational of the traits in which society expects women to conform to, Nina is seen as the white swan symbolising purity and vulnerability. However, the black swan symbolizes the confidence and dark nature that Nina does not have. When Lilly, Nina foil, appears her anxiety is heightened and this subsequently leads to her mental deterioration.
Nina struggles with schizophrenia, eating disorders and delusions. The film ends seemingly typical in which Nina murders Lily just before she plays the role of the Black Swan (her lifetimes dream) and we see she has achieved her needs to conform. However in an unconventional twist we find that Nina has not stabbed Lily but herself, not only bringing the end to her mental illness but to her social torment. Subsequently the audience sympathize with her because her death is due to the social pressures.

What do you think about this guys?


I saw a bit of the film and got bored of it. However, based on your brief summing up -

I have worked in mental health for 15 years (both on acute wards and rehab units) and have never encountered a schizophrenic using a swan to symbolise their purity and vulnerability. Neither have I met a schizophrenic who would stab themselves just before going out on stage.

I hope that helps...

I've never met an amnesiac but they're in films all the time.

It might be make-believe.

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Post #: 10
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 8/7/2012 1:30:59 PM   
courtneyross123

 

Posts: 8
Joined: 14/6/2012
From: Oxford, England
thank you for that, i do agree with you however I do feel that the dance is just a personification of her mental struggle so that the audience can see this struggle visually and therefore exploit mental illness to sell the film :P

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Post #: 11
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 8/7/2012 6:08:22 PM   
sharkboy


Posts: 6295
Joined: 26/9/2005
From: Belfast

quote:

ORIGINAL: Lazarus munkey


quote:

ORIGINAL: Riaz Ali


quote:

ORIGINAL: courtneyross123

How has social context effected the way mental illness is presented [to] and received by audiences in the film Black Swan"

The film explores the mental strains brought to a woman, Nina, as she tries to achieve her dream of playing the role as both the white swan as well as the black. The swans are representational of the traits in which society expects women to conform to, Nina is seen as the white swan symbolising purity and vulnerability. However, the black swan symbolizes the confidence and dark nature that Nina does not have. When Lilly, Nina foil, appears her anxiety is heightened and this subsequently leads to her mental deterioration.
Nina struggles with schizophrenia, eating disorders and delusions. The film ends seemingly typical in which Nina murders Lily just before she plays the role of the Black Swan (her lifetimes dream) and we see she has achieved her needs to conform. However in an unconventional twist we find that Nina has not stabbed Lily but herself, not only bringing the end to her mental illness but to her social torment. Subsequently the audience sympathize with her because her death is due to the social pressures.

What do you think about this guys?


I saw a bit of the film and got bored of it. However, based on your brief summing up -

I have worked in mental health for 15 years (both on acute wards and rehab units) and have never encountered a schizophrenic using a swan to symbolise their purity and vulnerability. Neither have I met a schizophrenic who would stab themselves just before going out on stage.

I hope that helps...

I've never met an amnesiac but they're in films all the time.

It might be make-believe.


Maybe you have and you just don't remember...

As for the movie, I thought it was a much better representation of escape into an alternative personality/reality than the nightmare that was Sucker Punch!

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Post #: 12
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 8/7/2012 10:38:18 PM   
TragicRomantic


Posts: 77
Joined: 7/7/2012
From: Elysium
It simply isn't as clever as it thinks it is.The Black/White swan representation is obvious.
Without the visual beauty of Kunis and Portman it would be unwatchable,ergo it's quite superficial really.
As a study of mental illness?No,it fails abysmally.

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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 9/7/2012 12:52:47 AM   
filmfanatic123


Posts: 150
Joined: 22/9/2009
From: Arse End of Nowhere.
I loved Black Swan when I saw it, and I agree with the original post, although, to be fair, I never thought into it that much.

I just watched it, and thought it was awesome.

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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 9/7/2012 4:44:56 AM   
TragicRomantic


Posts: 77
Joined: 7/7/2012
From: Elysium
I just watched it and thought the Director was given such a fine canvas and brought no paint.

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Post #: 15
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 9/7/2012 9:18:15 AM   
Rebenectomy


Posts: 5629
Joined: 20/1/2008
From: 10-0-11-0-0 by 0-2

quote:

ORIGINAL: Lazarus munkey


quote:

ORIGINAL: Riaz Ali


quote:

ORIGINAL: courtneyross123

How has social context effected the way mental illness is presented [to] and received by audiences in the film Black Swan"

The film explores the mental strains brought to a woman, Nina, as she tries to achieve her dream of playing the role as both the white swan as well as the black. The swans are representational of the traits in which society expects women to conform to, Nina is seen as the white swan symbolising purity and vulnerability. However, the black swan symbolizes the confidence and dark nature that Nina does not have. When Lilly, Nina foil, appears her anxiety is heightened and this subsequently leads to her mental deterioration.
Nina struggles with schizophrenia, eating disorders and delusions. The film ends seemingly typical in which Nina murders Lily just before she plays the role of the Black Swan (her lifetimes dream) and we see she has achieved her needs to conform. However in an unconventional twist we find that Nina has not stabbed Lily but herself, not only bringing the end to her mental illness but to her social torment. Subsequently the audience sympathize with her because her death is due to the social pressures.

What do you think about this guys?


I saw a bit of the film and got bored of it. However, based on your brief summing up -

I have worked in mental health for 15 years (both on acute wards and rehab units) and have never encountered a schizophrenic using a swan to symbolise their purity and vulnerability. Neither have I met a schizophrenic who would stab themselves just before going out on stage.

I hope that helps...

I've never met an amnesiac but they're in films all the time.

It might be make-believe.


I think the point they are making, and the point of the thread, is there are issues with the accuracy of the film as a depiction of mental illness, schizophrenia in particular. I'd also question the idea that it is schizophrenia on display in Black Swan, as split personality and schizophrenia are not one and the same and it's quite a blinkered and old fashioned labelling to regard them as such.

It's probably fairer to say that Aronofsky dramatises the pressures and expectations of performance (as he does in the Wrestler) and is more concerned with making a point about what one scarifies - socially, physically and emotionally, for the art, rather than any serious depiction of mental illness. He's producing art himself, painting a picture through fantastical metaphor and symbolism, rather than realism, so he has artistic licence in this respect.

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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 9/7/2012 12:40:39 PM   
jobloffski

 

Posts: 1896
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: elsewhere
Also, see Eraserhead, Lost Highway, Mullholland Drive and Inland Empire for depictions of people who are to one degree or another losing their mind, with reality and their subjective reality blending to create a halfway house between reality and imagination where a narrative is presented for story purposes, with many events not strictly making logical sense, and somehow symbolising the main character's 'condition'

Aranofsky probably did, given certain elements of some of his films ;-)

More accurate/realistic presentations of 'mental conditions' would be more mundane to look at but pressure to be a certain way conflicting with who/what you are actually able to be resulting in irreconcilable inner conflict with a destructive and/or self destructive outcome/projecting outwards and identifying someone else as somehow responsible for that conflict leading to falling into mental disrepair/convergence of external reality and imagined motivations for the actions of others are probably regular aspects of the beginning of many conditions.

But depicting literally/symbolically and seeking to create confusion as to where literal and symbolic begin and end that makes for better cinema than just saying it. If not better, then more palatable at least. The extent to which the normal pressures of a normal life can lead to many people having a breakdown is a little too scary for many people to contemplate, and films of such a nature are a hard sell because of this. When it comes to mental illness in films it seems people either prefer to have films where gifted people crack under the strain/despite mental illness are gifted or films where social misfits go postal than anything any closer to home.


< Message edited by jobloffski -- 9/7/2012 12:55:46 PM >

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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 9/7/2012 6:37:21 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


Posts: 9540
Joined: 23/4/2006
From: the dark side of the sun
Brilliant film and I highly doubt Aranofsky meant it as a serious depiction of mental illness - it's a work of fiction.

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Post #: 18
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 9/7/2012 6:38:53 PM   
matty_b


Posts: 14582
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
I disagree - Aronofsky's an intelligent guy, and directors/writers frequently address issues like mental illness under the guise of genre work (whether he succeeds or not is a different question...)

I don't think it being fiction has any bearing on it, really.

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RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 9/7/2012 7:03:07 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


Posts: 9540
Joined: 23/4/2006
From: the dark side of the sun
I just saw it as a dark thriller about an unstable ballerina - I never once sat there and thought that they were trying to portray a realistic depiction of mental illness. Maybe others did I dunno

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Post #: 20
RE: Mental Illness in Black Swan - MAJOR SPOILERS - 9/7/2012 7:33:19 PM   
matty_b


Posts: 14582
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From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
I think it's a balance between those two things you're saying.

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