The seminar on Friday (still available for viewing) was an extraordinary opportunity for several people to come together, both on line and in person in Asheville. There was so much to discuss with the Black Swan. It felt like the more we uncovered the more expansive the material became. I was struck by the energy in the room and also the feel from the internet participants because we were participating in something global. There was a sense of community around this glorious film. Michael De Meritt’s contribution was fascinating for his perspective on film-making which I think added a different dimension in contrast with the Jungian perspective. We discussed Nina’s dark journey as the nigredo in the seminar. This journey is our journey. We discussed Nina’s addiction to perfection, her neurotic symptoms as aesthetic component of the emergence of Nina’s shadow life, her black swan nature. We discussed the making of the film, the contributing ideas from other films, novels and of course the Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Swan Lake. We moved deeper then into the underlying mythologies of Demeter and Persephone. I encouraged the participants to see the HBO film Mildred Pierce, directed by Todd Haynes as a companion film to Black Swan. This film is a remake of a film with Joan Crawford and was more loyal to the book than the latter. The fusion of mother, played by Kate Winslet, & her daughter is the common factor between Black Swan and Mildred Pierce but the latter is a film told more from the perspective of the mother, while Black Swan clearly moved our sympathies to the daughter. Finally we discussed alchemy and the images from alchemy as being most consistent with dream images. Jung believed alchemy provided an uncontaminated view of the collective unconscious. We compared Nina’s transformation to that of Jung himself reflected in his writings in the Red Book. One of the questions of the participants on line was around the idea of Nina’s scratching and woundedness as depicting the narcissistic wound. We would expect, as Nina emerges from this early narcissistic phase characterized by over identification with the mother, a wounding would appear as manifested by the wounds Nina seems to be self inflicting. This is one way to view Nina’s wounding. Another way is to see the wounds as containing the emergence of her instinctual nature as the black swan. I am reminded of the David Cronenberg film, The Fly, another film in the horror genre (Black Swan does some cross over into this genre) in which a scientist who is unbalanced in the direction of being too scientific, too rational, performs an experiment on himself in which his nature is merged with that of a fly and over time the fly nature (instinctual nature) begins to emerge in similar fashion to Nina. It begins with a scratch on his back made by his lover in the midst of passionate lovemaking. Soon black insect hairs start to emerge from the wound. Over time his fly nature completely takes over his human nature and destroys him. The Black Swan continues to instruct us and the seminar was a wonderful opportunity to bring these ideas together in a live forum. I want to thank those who participated and to remind them to let us know what worked and what didn’t so we can prepare for an even better film seminar next time. And if you have interest in a particular film for future discussion, please let us know. Thank you. -Daniel Ross Our seminar on the Black Swan will remain available for viewing through October 1st, 2011. Registration is still available. Click here to Register.
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