Red Shoes, The

Director: Powell and Pressburger

U.K.| 1948. Colour. 136 mins.

One of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s most acclaimed films, The Red Shoes takes its theme of artistic obsession from the Hans Christian Anderson story of the same name. The narrative focuses on the battle between a young composer (Maurice Goring) and a demanding ballet impresario (Anton Walbrook) over burgeoning prima ballerina Moira Shearer. The film gives complete expression to the perverse anti-body beauties of classical ballet. The treatment of the ‘Red Shoes’ ballet itself emphasises this aesthetic in several ways: by trick photography enhancing a sense of weightlessness; by superimpositions that turn Shearer into a flower and a bird; by substituting figures from the surrounding narrative who represent the art-destroying forces of life. It’s an intoxicatingly demented movie.

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