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The Red Shoes

Great Britain 1948. Dirs: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger. 133 min. DCP

“One of the most beloved films of all time” (Ian Christie), Powell and Pressburger’s ravishing, rapturous The Red Shoes, shot in dazzling Technicolor by Jack Cardiff, is also one of the most beautiful. Moira Shearer, in a remarkable debut, is Victoria Page, an up-and-coming dancer newly taken on by a successful ballet company. Anton Walbrook is Lermontov, the company’s manipulative, demanding impresario (modelled on Serge Diaghilev), whose ruthless your-art-is-your-life approach to dance imperils Victoria’s physical and emotional health. Marius Goring is Julian, the young composer with whom Victoria falls in love. The Red Shoes is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of the same name. The film’s much-celebrated centrepiece, a stunning 14-minute ballet sequence directly based on the Andersen tale, is one of the great glories of cinema. The film won 1948 Oscars for its art direction and score.


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REVIEWS

★★★★ "The film is voluptuous in its beauty and passionate in its storytelling. You don't watch it, you bathe in it."

Roger Ebert | full review

"Profoundly serious, sublimely innocent, yet deeply and mysteriously erotic."

The Guardian | full review

"To experience an epiphany: So this is what capital-C Cinema looks like in its purest waking-dream form."

Time Out | full review