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Becoming the monstrous-feminine: Sex, death and transcendence in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan

Efthimiou, O. (2012) Becoming the monstrous-feminine: Sex, death and transcendence in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. IM: Interactive Media, 8 .

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Abstract

Black Swan (2010) makes its mark as a significant text in queer cinema. It artfully illustrates the complexities of femininity and the obliteration of conventional boundaries between masculine and feminine. This article discusses the application of Barbara Creed’s monstrous-feminine in the film and its importance for the queer monster of horror. Darren Aronofsky’s ballet dancer reveals the various incarnations of the monstrous-feminine. In particular, the figure of the Black Swan is explored as an expression of the female vampire. Natalie Portman’s character attempts to master the art of performing and being a woman, illustrating the conflation between life, performance and suffering through her ‘monstrous in-process’. Her progressive de/trans-formation is defined by ‘sexual-becoming-towards death’. Orgasm and abjection become signposts by which the artist achieves her ultimate goal of transcendence, producing a haunting representation of the monstrous sublime in the process.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: National Academy of Screen and Sound
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/14075
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