Sunday, February 27, 2011

I saw a misogynist movie: Black Swan

The other day I relented on my bedbug ban on NYC movie theaters and went to see Black Swan. My my what a swamp of sexist--no, I've got to go further for this film is not merely sexist, it is full-on misogynist--ideas and imagery. What wrecks, what weak sad pathetic wrecks, and not just that, what vicious competitive violent destructive self-destructive confused insane and sexually lunatic yet frigid barely human beings we gals are, according to screenwriters Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz and director Darren Aronofsky. As artists, we're not nuts in the standard way male artists are permitted to be nuts in the movies, the Agony & Ecstasy/Lust for Life/Pollock way. No, for us it's our very femaleness that predetermines our downfall. To drive the point home, they made sure to include a hot lesbian sex scene, an overwrought masturbation scene, a standard-issue monster mother, lots of blood and crazy red eyes and on and on, climaxing in attainment of artistic perfection achieved only and simultaneously with death.

This makes me tired. This endless onslaught. And reminds me why I've nearly given up on the movies. This is the best Hollywood can do. This is what passes for cinematic art in this country. Black Swan and Aronofsky are nominated for Oscars. Don't even get me started on the whole list of nominees, at least one of which, The Social Network, is a deeply sexist movie about a bunch of millionaire misogynist assholes; one of which, The Kids Are All Right, shows how all lesbians really need is a good male fuck as all it takes for a lesbian in a longterm committed relationship to lunge for heterosex is for a heterosexual male to stroll into her life; one of which, The King's Speech, asks us to empathize with the multibillionaire head of state of British imperialism; one of which, Inception, is so laughably moronic, vapid, unimaginative, derivative, flat, shallow and all-around uninteresting, that is, the exact opposite of its hype, that when I watched it with some friends a few months ago, we kept asking each other if this could possibly be the same movie about which we'd read all those rave reviews.

I was left similarly nonplused after seeing Black Swan. Could I be the only one who found this movie offensive and misogynist? I'm glad to find I'm not, having googled the title of the film and the word "misogynist" and found quite a few articles accusing it of same. I suppose there's some small comfort in that, though I'd much prefer not having to wade through this swamp in the first place.

Ah Aronofsky. I loved his first two works, Pi and Requiem for a Dream. I found The Fountain, while weirdly fascinating for its utter over-the-top madness, a stunningly hot mess of a movie, a failure in every way, and politically reprehensible to boot with its portrayal of a conquistador as a hero and its weepily Victorian female swoonily romantically dying throughout the whole long slog. The Wrestler was unoriginal, predictable, sentimental claptrap, albeit watchable since, admit it, who can turn away from what has become of Mickey Rourke's face, but that didn't save the movie. I doubt I'll ever give another Aronofsky movie a chance. He's insulted me, as a viewer, an artist and a woman, once too often.