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Kitsch Floats? Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan”

Kitsch Floats? Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan"

Is “Black Swan” so over-the-top, it falters; or does its very over-the-topness make it soar? In a review that should confound Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes editors to come up with an accurate rating, J. Hoberman’s Village Voice review of Darren Aronofsy’s psycho-thriller damns as it praises: “Kitsch this bombastic becomes something primal,” he writes. An expert in the ways of camp (see Hoberman and Rosenbaum’s “Midnight Movies,” 1991), I think the critical confusion surrounding much of Aronofsky’s work–which will surely come to a head with the release of “Black Swan”–is that the director is operating in the same ambiguous territory as Douglas Sirk or Nicholas Ray–“a strenuous, sensationalizing goofiness” (to borrow Hoberman’s words) that I was trying to get at with my recent IFC.com article “Requiems: The Melodramatic Imagination of Darren Aronofsky.” There are other writers far more versed in the genre than me, and I would welcome further comments on the topic, here or there in the comments section.

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