Perfection

“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go.
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”
– Eminem

My mom keeps asking me why I’m obsessed with this Black Swan movie. Personally, I disagree with that assessment, but then again, it’s the crazy people who think they’re sane.

Speaking of obsessed people, it’s a large part of the movie’s plot. The main thing that drives Nina throughout the movie is her obsession with achieving something great, which in her case is being perfect.

It’s a common thread that runs through all of Darren Aronofsky’s films and probably one of the reasons that he is my favorite director (well, who is alive, he hasn’t quite reached the Stanley Kubrick level).

The main characters in Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream, Pi, and The Fountain are all after something that is doubtful they will attain, and certainly unattainable to anyone but them. They aren’t all as solidly outlined as Nina’s quest for perfection, but there is a feeling that they are all on a similar journey.

In order to achieve that success, the quest has to be consuming and you have to let it. Nina doesn’t enter her state of perfection (the black swan) until she allows it to take over. And in the rare occasion that you make it out the other side you may be the only one that knows, which sounds depressing, but upon that level of achievement there is nothing than can depress (on the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to have an audience they will recognize it, just like the Black Swan audience that goes insane with applause for the dancer that just fell in the last scene).

The sad, and unfortunately perhaps most realistic, aspect is that not everybody gets there. Some fail along the way—some voluntarily. Each one of those movies follows someone on this quest, and each one has a different outcome.

But the most inspiring aspect is that everyone has something to get lost in. And if you can find it you can be perfect, just like Nina.

So why am I obsessed with Black Swan? Maybe it is my mom’s theory that I think Natalie Portman is freaking hot (and I can’t really argue with that), but maybe it’s so when I find my element it just may teach me how to lose myself in it; after all ‘This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.’

“…in the end it’s like this, OK — centuries ago in the deserts of North Africa, people used to gather for these moonlight dances of sacred dance and music that would go on for hours and hours, until dawn. And they were always magnificent, because the dancers were professionals and they were terrific, right? But every once in a while, very rarely, something would happen, and one of these performers would actually become transcendent. And I know you know what I’m talking about, because I know you’ve all seen, at some point in your life, a performance like this. It was like time would stop, and the dancer would sort of step through some kind of portal and he wasn’t doing anything different than he had ever done, 1,000 nights before, but everything would align. And all of a sudden, he would no longer appear to be merely human. He would be lit from within, and lit from below and all lit up on fire with divinity.

And when this happened, back then, people knew it for what it was, you know, they called it by its name. They would put their hands together and they would start to chant, “Allah, Allah, Allah, God God, God.” That’s God, you know. Curious historical footnote — when the Moors invaded southern Spain, they took this custom with them and the pronunciation changed over the centuries from “Allah, Allah, Allah,” to “Ole, ole, ole,” which you still hear in bullfights and in flamenco dances. In Spain, when a performer has done something impossible and magic, “Allah, ole, ole, Allah, magnificent, bravo,” incomprehensible, there it is — a glimpse of God.”Elizabeth Gilbert

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