This week Lost in Criterion is watching Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1948 layered adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale The Red Shoes, probably the apex of the genre, but that's coming from someone who's only other experience with ballet films is Black Swan.
But then Darren Aronofsky obviously owes debt to The Red Shoes. A deep study of the two could make an interesting essay, but I'm not here to do that (and I'm quite sure it's been done). All I'll say is that I find the artistic direction of The Red Shoes more compelling (but that could just be the pallete) and the dancing to be superior (but that could just be that star Moira Shearer is actually a dancer). And there is no (possibly) hallucinatory lesbian sex scene between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Not that there isn't hallucinatory imagery in The Red Shoes. I think it's fair to say that the crux of this week's conversation centers on the symbolism and reality of the final scene.
Give it a listen?