Izzy Black wrote:They are like ghosts because they aren't really actors, they're passive vessels to the whims of circumstance, causally drifting from one situation to the next, but unable to meaningfully act.
Oh, definitely. But I also thought about how all girls of a certain age are ghosts for Francoise (and Nina most of all), haunting images of her daughter back from the dead.
What we get is a glimpse of the artistic process and also Nina's intense longing. In the monologue, she begins recounting the half-fabricated, half-truth story from her journal, but it's so powerful and moving to Toni because she knows its inspiration, only she knows what's true and what isn't, and where it isn't true, it reveals the force of Nina's desire.
The diary/dream element makes the film for me. Nina's character certainly wouldn't have needed that outlet for the film to work, but it adds depth and mystery to the simple story. You use the word 'idealized,' but isn't it fascinating that the details she adds to demonstrate her desire are rape fantasies! And, here it gets confusing, because when Nina sees Toni for the second time (when she gives her the shirt) Toni's torn clothes fit with the diary account, not the one we 'saw' through Nina's eyes. Nina's audition monologue could be
more fiction, but I choose to believe it. As a recurring dream, it partially explains her fantasies, and also seems to invoke early-childhood memories of her parents (or, even odder, to allude to the film we're watching).
One more thought: I never found their intimacy particularly touching, because I never thought Toni cared at all. Yes, she understood Nina, and needed her for a while, but it was always a one-night stand, whether Nina knew it or not.