I’ve been obsessed with this idea since I saw Black Swan in the theater, and it blew me away. This was perhaps the most arresting film I have ever seen. There’s a reason for this, and it’s in the camera rules as well as in the story.
I just caught a talk with Darren Aronofsky, and he explained the rules of “subjective filmmaking,” and they are intended to give the main character a special treatment, close to being a point of view experience. This is more like a novel and less like a Hollywood spectacular.
I place enough stock in this technique and its devotion to the main character and her experiences that it influenced my writing of Transfixion, and what I foresee for the film adaptation. It needs to religiously stay with Kaylee like a pet drone following her around (note the cover). That’s the limited perspective I’m hoping will be realized if this thing ever makes it to production.
Aronofsky may have been discussing another film, Pi or Requiem for a Dream, but Black Swan is the epitome of subjective filmmaking style.
- The camera can only be over Nina’s shoulder, seeing what she sees.
- Other characters don’t get over the shoulder shots.
- Other characters have a shallow angle from the camera to make it more like a POV.
All scenes featured Nina, and all were from her POV, often following along after her through hallways, subway platforms. This works on a whole other level in Black Swan because she’s an unreliable narrator. She’s mad, essentially. Her POV changes radically throughout. Even the opening shot is from her POV inside a dream, and the dream logic of madness comes into play.
I’ll write some more on Aronofsky’s films in the next Radically Different Films post…
The Making of Black Swan (pw: “blackswan”):