Psychoanalysis: Black Swan
Black Swan is a typical film depicting the complication of human personality by trigging the unconscious mind. The film begins with the role replacement and Nina, the pure white swan dancer, is picked up to cast the dual characters, white and black swan. But the fear of losing the role drives Nina crazy and eventually she feels the perfect at the expense of life. The protagonist’s personality transformation developed by the ensuing tremendous pressures of pursing perfection which distort her thinking, behavior and language with dreams and illusions could be interpreted by Freud’s psychoanalysis.
According to Freud, dream is the fulfilment of desires, it is by no means accidental associations. First, the crazy dream at the beginning reveals the associations: She grew up under a demanding mother who gave up her dancing dream for Nina which in return is passed on to Nina and controls everything of her, the clothing, the nails, the food and so on. The pink decoration in Nina’s room and the warm color clothing represent Nina’s princess-like life while under the ground—the dark dream implies Nina’s high pressure life, her mother’s high expectation of her invisibly transferred into Nina’s mind and she treats Nina as a little girl, thus Nina’s desires like sex and violence are displaced and suppressed into the unconscious mind which only get fulfilment in the dream. The second dream is about the lesbian relation with Lily, it happened at the time when Nina was trapped by the role and the unaccepted desire, like sex and dissolute actions in the bar pounded Nina’s inner world triggering her rebellions towards her mother, such as shouting and hiding a wooden bat. The innocent little girl suddenly grows up being aware of her own consciousness, her wild and loose inner world. The pleasure of having sex and the elation of behaving violently indicate that Nina do have dark side to cast the black swan’s role but she cannot accept and feels astonished then she tries to hide which makes her psyche worse.
The illusions in this film also reflect the effect of the repression of desires. Based on the psychoanalysis, the suppressed desires affect the personality and can result in psychological illness, with the approaching of the performance, the conflicts are intensified between Nina’s conscious mind and unconscious mind. At first, it is the illusions of bloody fingers, little rashes on the back. Then she constantly sees herself in many forms, one is Beth, the former dancer, who ruins her face with a knife , representing Nina’s anxiety of being replaced. Despite of herself, she also has bad reflection upon others, Nina takes Lily as her potential rival and Thomas as beast. The fade-in desires distort her psyche and influence her behaviors. Finally, she even hurts her mother on purpose and tries to kill Lily which turns out to be herself. Nina at the end perfectly performs the dark and white swans, but the cost is life.
The illusions and dreams displayed in this film enable us to perceive complicated personalities among human beings and make it possible for us to understand unconscious mind.