#101: The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes (1948) - Dirs. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

Part of the Top 150 Films series

The Red Shoes is probably the most beautiful use of Technicolor cinematography ever captured on film. Though that’s not a new observation, what elevates the film above mere technical Technicolor exercise is how the photography is completely in sync with the intense emotions on display. Powell and Pressburger pirouette from melodrama to romance to heightened theatrics (both onstage and off) with the deft flourish found in all of their best works. The music is on point. All of the actors hit their marks. The titular ballet incorporates everything that film can do in adapting and enhancing other artforms. The Red Shoes, both on a textual and metatextual level, is the story of mankind’s fragile soul, a tragic portrait of the fine margin between passion and insanity, between love and hate, between sacrifice and selfishness and a heartbreaking tale of characters who are trapped between those divergent, seductive, and antagonistic forces.