An aspiring artist dreams of becoming great, with a boundary-pushing mentor who urges them past moral and biological limits to achieve perfection. Is this describing Damien Chazelle’s 2014 breakout debut Whiplash or Darren Aronofsky’s film Black Swan from 2010? In a new video essay, Fernando Andrés isn’t alleging that one stole from the other or that they are carbon copies of each other, but instead proposes they are perfect companion films that look at similar stories in two different forms of art.
The video essay, titled “Hands & Feet,” details the many similarities between the two films, from opening shots to ambiguous endings. Andrés stops along the way to show how the two filmmakers depict two masochistic artists who are willing to sacrifice everything to achieve their dreams, even if it means self-destruction. It’s a nuanced and poignant look at two films that shows how they perfectly complement each other in varying ways. It also leads one to imagine how much better life would be if J.K. Simmons was yelling at a giant swan.