The fest audience gave Darren Aronofsky’s latest a standing ovation as credits rolled. London newspaper critics are giving the psychosexual ballet thriller rave reviews. “Portman is astounding,” says the Times of London. “Awards are sure to follow.” The Independent agrees, calling Portman’s performance “searing” and the film “enthralling”. David Gritten in the Daily Telegraph says Portman’s performance as a ballet dancer losing her mind elevates her from leading actress to major star. “Every film festival benefits hugely from a strong opening film, and they don’t come much stronger than Black Swan,” he says.
Of course, Aronofsky won the Golden Lion in Venice for his last film The Wrestler in 2008. The Telegraph thinks he could win again this year with Black Swan. Aronofsky told a packed press conference that the more he looked into ballet, the more he started to see similarities with the world of wrestling. “They both have these performers who use their bodies in extremely physical ways,” he said.
Fox Searchlight releases Black Swan in the US on December 1. Senior Fox Searchlight executives strolled up the red carpet into the Opening Night gala screening. Black Swan was the first of three opening films and is competing with 22 others for this year’s Golden Lion. In total this year’s festival will screen 79 full-length world premieres from 34 countries. The 67th Venice film festival runs from 1 to 11 September.