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Cruelty Works? I Don't Think So.

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Message Mark Sashine
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 I  have recently watched  The Black  Swan.  I am from  Russia.  The Swan Lake was the Ballet of my childhood.  How many times did I watch it- 20, 30?  Music from that Ballet  could be recognized by anyone.  And libretto too-even small children knew the story about Odett and Odillia- the white and black swans. Actually, the topic of the transformation  of the swan into the beautiful Princess is the Russian topic; there is a charming fairy-tale (a little different story) by Pushkin  about it. Swans are cherished birds in Russia, maybe due to their family loyalty.


The movie is thrilling, very intense and  powerful.  Obviously,  the whole concept is the load of the creative process on the psyche; the  necesssity to  give everything of yourself to the art of the development of the image, the rising to the challenge and the price of that effort. All of that is  so. But is  cruelty necessary?


Through the whole movie the protagonist Nina is  tragically alone. There is no cozy place to hide, no person to cry with, no person to even hug.  There is no father (this fatherlessness  of the  female protagonist had become  odious in the Hollywood culture recently), thus there is no protection from the cruelty of  her world. There  is nowhere to go  as if there are no libraries, no  theaters, no parks. There is no boyfriend  or any male friend for that matter.   There is no one to  rely upon spiritually; even the faith is not there. Nina has no life. That's why the  world around her is so surreal; the light  is electric only. There are no seasons, no sun,  no rain, no snow.   If you  want to dance a swan, shouldn't you at least  go for some skating on the lake?  Shouldn't you  go to the Zoo? Shouldn't you  go see the paintings where those swans are drawn? Shouldn't you watch the movies where other ballerinas dance, listen to the music?  That bar scene is  useless in the movie; Nina is not there no matter how the director wants to convince us in the opposite.


The movie is unfortunately cruel and cruelty, in my opinion, kills any art. Why would the sexual harrasment on the scene  help the young girl to  gain her self- confidence? Why  would rudeness and deliberate provocation  produce the admiration? I don't think so. In the culmination  scene Nina, the  Black Swan kisses  her tormentor with passion, thus revealing apparently her internal desire to  be with him. That's  cruelty at the top of malice; turns out he was right all along- she wanted it, didn't she? Why? What it has to do with art? I don't understand. I don't agree.


The Swan Lake is a tender, beautiful masterpiece of light. As all real works of art it requires  work and dedication. But cruelty and  extreme spiritual rape have nothing to do with it. If I was Nina's father  that idiot-director  played by V. Kassel would hear from me right away. I myself  had been a professional chess player. Chess is very demanding.  We had many  young people around and  there was a lot of stress. But  cruelty was strictly forbidden; overhwelming, pushing, rudeness were excluded as the ones which denigrate the noble art of the game, make it malicious.


What kind of   art can be produced by people who ask if  anyone would like to f&ck the girl?  White or Black are the swans but they  are symbols of something bigger, something noble, something which makes us better. I don't think that the concept   I saw  made me better. In fact, I came out very angry.  The  obvious talent of the actress was deliberately sacrificed to petty cruelty.  That's what  I saw.


I am an engineer,  also write stories, was a professsional chess player as I have mentioned. Yes,  our endeavors demand committment and conviction, perseverance and dedication. They demand honesty and suffering. But as Einstein said, 'God is inventive  but not malicious'. Our endeavors do not recognize extreme cruelty and self-demise as a path  to perfection.  The road to perfection  must be filled with joy. There was no joy in that movie, only tragedy, cruelty and death.  There was no compassion. I  cannot accept this.  Maybe I am  all wrong.  But I listen to  Chaikovsky music and  I really don't see Nina dancing. Sorry.


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The writer is 66 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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