Welcome to Framed, a column at Cinematical that runs every Thursday and celebrates the artistry of cinema -- one frame at a time.
Ballet is unnerving to say the least. Take your pick: the claw of social physique anxiety, the distorted extremes that the body endures (those feet ... ) and all the masochistic rapture wrapped in elegant silks and serene music can be profoundly disturbing. The art form's beauty is ripe with paradox. Aronofsky's 'Black Swan' exposes the wounded psyche of dancer Nina (Natalie Portman), while Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 'The Red Shoes' follows ballerina Victoria (Moira Shearer) -- weaving a somewhat different kind of tale.
The 1948 film has all the technicolor grandeur one might expect about a ballet hopeful who relentlessly immerses herself in the dance -- her shining moment a fantastical performance based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, 'The Red Shoes.' The story revolves around a young woman who falls in love with a pair of red shoes and can't wait to slip them on. Once they grace her feet, however, she quickly realizes that although she grows tired of dancing, the shoes do not -- and they dance her right to her death. It's a fable brought to life as Victoria -- who has worked effortlessly to win the admiration of her company's strict impresario, and at the same time has fallen madly in love with the ballet company's composer -- is forced to choose between two worlds.
I feel as though I say it every week, but choosing a single frame from this gorgeous film was nearly impossible. Below are a few key points surrounding the stunning and surreal performance in which Victoria dances 'The Red Shoes.' It's also an excuse to plaster this article with more than one amazing image.