The Red Shoes

Saturday, 28 August 2010

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

the red shoes

A story is told according to which Saint-Pol-Roux, in times gone by, used to have a notice posted on the door of his manor house in Camaret, every evening before he went to sleep, which read: THE POET IS WORKING.

A great deal more could be said, but in passing I merely wanted to touch upon a subject which in itself would require a very long and much more detailed discussion; I shall come back to it. At this juncture, my intention was merely to mark a point by noting the hate of the marvelous which rages in certain men, this absurdity beneath which they try to bury it. Let us not mince words: the marvelous is always beautiful, anything marvelous is beautiful, in fact only the marvelous is beautiful.


-Andre Breton, Manifesto of Surrealism, 1924.

If I were stranded on an island and could only take one film with me, it would be this one. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1948 film, The Red Shoes, is widely regarded as one of the most innovative films ever made. The plot is very simple: a young ballerina is torn between the love for a man and the passion for her profession. But at the heart of this simple plot is an intricately complex weaving of artistic and philosophical manifestos. This is one of those films that actually successfully blends surrealist imagery with a lucid narrative. And it is so much more than that too.

As I was re-watching this film today, it occurred to me how The Red Shoes exemplifies Andre Breton's words in the Manifesto of Surrealism. The underlying artistic philosophy of this film is precisely: stop, and watch, the poet is at work. Hush. This is both the danger and uniqueness of the film. Nothing is reined in, which is what makes the imagery so fascinating. The marvellous isn't simply beautiful, it is reality. At the moment, I'm drawn to films that do not wish to define reality for their viewers, but that simply present multiple versions of it through the mediating force of fantasy.

P.S. in the spirit of the film, I haven't reined in my selection of images. I simply can't choose, the entire film is so mesmerising.

19 comments:

Eliza said...

Can't believe I haven't seen this yet. It looks more than fascinating, I really have to find it and see it. xxx

Sundari said...

It looks like a very interesting set. It kind of reminds me a little of Dr Caligari.

Athena. said...

Oh, I have heard of this movie, and I was intrigued by the story line. I must watch it very, very soon! xxx

rebecca said...

i haven't seen this since i was tiny!! i loved it at the time, so i must re-watch it (:

http://itscohen.blogspot.com/

tywo said...

It looks interesting.
Have a great weekend.




LOVE!

Christine said...

I love this film! I completely agree with you. You found such great images as well. Hope you had a lovely weekend!

odessa said...

your words make me want to see this film ASAP. and those images are stunning! thanks for sharing :)

Des said...

I've never seen this film. I need to put it on my list now.

a. said...

thank you. this is now on my watch list.

Maura said...

I just recently stumbled on this film recently, it was amazing! I grew up on Hans Christian Andersen's tales, so beautiful and dark.

Indie.Tea said...

It IS a gorgeous film...perhaps one of the most gorgeous ever...
Have you seen the trailer for Darren Aronofsky's 'Black Swan'...it is definitely heavily inspired by 'The Red Shoes'.

danica said...

i watched this a few years back and, although i can't remember the full narrative, i still have a selection of its images lodged in my memory. lovely stills!

pumkyn said...

you watch such lovely looking films

hila said...

thanks guys!

Principia said...

is this based on the story where the red shoes wouldn't let the girl stop dancing? it's one of the most heart breaking tales by andersen

hila said...

yes it is! I know, it is heartbreaking - have you noticed how violent most fairy tales are though? Strange how we keep them for children ...

marie said...

i just saw this the other day.. :)

hila said...

It was on tv straight after I posted about it - uncanny!

Caitlin Rose said...

Oh I totally agree, and yes, it is amazing that the movie combines surrealist imagery and a lucid plot!

I love your film stills as well, I'm glad you included all of them, it is truly the most marvelous film!