October 9, 2015

Are 'Black Swan' & 'Whiplash' the Same Movie? Pretty Much.

Though different in many ways, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan and Damien Chazelle's Whiplash might be perfect companion films.

Both films center on a character that pushes themselves to the brink of madness in pursuit of artistic greatness and contain a parent that desires to curtail their success, as well as an abusive instructor. These similarities are analyzed by Fernando Andrés in his video essay entitled Hands & Feet. In it, Andrés points out the many thematic, narrative, and cinematographic parallels, as well as the differences, between each film.  

Check it out below:

One interesting thing about this analysis is that even though the films are about essentially the same thing, the filmmakers took very different approaches toward telling their stories. Aronofsky, a seasoned veteran of the medium, relies greatly on the cinematography of Matthew Libatique in Black Swan to express Nina's obsessive desire to become a "perfect" dancer. However, newcomer Chazelle leans heavily on the editing of Tom Cross in Whiplash to communicate Andrew's drive to become a "perfect" drummer.

However, yes, these films are incredibly similar in their narrative components, and they go perfectly together as companion pieces. So, if you're interested in making a film about obsessive artists that drive themselves insane while pushing themselves toward perfection, then it'd be a great idea to study these films.      

Your Comment

10 Comments

"Enter the Dragon"and "Mortal Combat" are the same movie, so is the 70s "West World" and "Jurassic Park". Hollywood is just rehashing same old stories with different characters.

October 10, 2015 at 3:56AM

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Simon Chan
Director of Photography
98

Perfect Blue and Black Swan are the same movie.

October 10, 2015 at 11:48AM

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Zgjim
34

Darren Aronofsky bought the rights of Perfect Blue. So he had the whole right to recreate as much as he wanted from that film.

October 15, 2015 at 4:41PM, Edited October 15, 4:40PM

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Enrique Godinez
Director/Producer/Actor
479

Everything is a remix...

October 10, 2015 at 1:07PM, Edited October 10, 1:07PM

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Gleb Volkov
Director of Photography
363

Seriously? Do you not understand that

1. A director's job is to make choices. Every tiny detail is there because of them. Don't say they rely heavily on the editor or the DP. You weren't on set. You have NO IDEA who framed the shots on Black Swan (Darren did like 90%).

2. When working with an editor (depending on the director) sometimes the director will literally be over their shoulder telling them what to do for EVERY SINGLE CUT (Peter Jackson is well known for working that way, along with Scorsese). Tom Cross definitely has a cutting style, but without Chazelle, the film wouldn't be as tightly cut as it is.

People need to understand that directing isn't just directing actors and getting shit from the AD. That's a lot of the job, the latter especially.

October 10, 2015 at 9:30PM, Edited October 10, 9:30PM

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No - Scorsese is NOT known for working that way at all and everything he, Thelma Schoonmaker and his collaborators say point to the polar opposite

October 11, 2015 at 2:10PM

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The director needs to be always looking at what the editor does and all of the other collaborators. Yoh're right directing is not just directing actors on set.

October 15, 2015 at 4:43PM

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Enrique Godinez
Director/Producer/Actor
479

Thematic similarities but no way are they "pretty much " the same film...

October 11, 2015 at 5:34AM, Edited October 11, 5:34AM

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Daniel Wiles
Writer
126

I thought it was common knowledge Black Swan & The Wrestler are the same movie - in fact they were once a single script (or treatment)

October 13, 2015 at 2:53PM

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Peter Normandia
Writer / Director / Editor
84

WHIPLASH: A ten times more interesting movie for a quarter the price of Black Swan.

October 15, 2015 at 5:41PM

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Drew Staniland
Actor/Videographer/Writer/Director
173