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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 80-81 | volume XIV | September-December, 2011



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 80-81September-December, 2011

Female Oedipus or the impact on forming the female sexuality

In screenplays “Black Swan” by Daren Aronofsky (2010) and “Piano teacher” by Michael Haneke (2001)

p. 1
Elena Koneska

Almost five years ago I wrote review of the novel “Piano teacher” by Elfriede Jelinek, focusing on the autobiographical elements and the dominant position of Erika’s mother in the same novel. A few years before, in 2001 the Austrian director Michael Haneke had made a screen adaption of Jelinek’s text, which, in the meantime raised most of the same controversies as the novel did.
    Nine years later, Daren Aronofsky in New York settled a new story, which, at first sight unites two new themes: the theory of “the black swan” of Nasim Nicolas Taleb and that of the Doppelgänger[1], the folklore belief of a person's double from a psychological point of view.
    These basic moments of “The Black Swan” screenplay provide good topic for additional research, but on this occasion I would like to focus on the subject on which I wrote about the “Piano teacher” and which inevitably appears when watching “The Black Swan”, to make a parallel review of the main characters in the both films and their psycho-physical connection with the mother.
    The story in both films starts in the home. The home provides the perfect circumstances for creating a pure emotional relationship between mother and daughter. In both cases, the father is missing to introduce a "normal" family relationship. Hence the daughters fail to reach the desire shift from mother to father, initiated by Oedipus complex according to Freud, which further makes her not capable to develop a natural relationship with a male partner. The mother-daughter relationship surpasses the common limitations, becoming ever more powerful because both mother and daughter are trying to compensate the absence of the father with the unusual closeness between them.
    On one hand, the daughter is the centre around which the entire mother's wishes and ambitions are gravitating and she often becomes a substitute for the missing partner. These very close relations on the other hand, cause abnormalities in the psychophysical development of the daughter, characteristically in facing and accepting their own sexuality. The boundaries of intimacy are removed by completely erasing the private space in the house.

    In the beginning, Erika in “Piano teacher” and Nina in “The Black Swan” are tracing their own sensual nature, stifled or immature by their own weakness to free themselves of the dominant mother. Both girls are top artists with prominent careers, absolutely supported by their mothers. The mothers are following all their steps, they glorify their daughters'


1. Germ. Tangible double of a living person in the literature, mythology, folklore representing the second “I”.

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