The Red Shoes

10:09 AM

The classy, not-creepy predecessor of Black Swan.

I watched The Red Shoes a couple of years ago when I was really into ballet. I wonder how many guys who hate ballet watched it only because Martin Scorsese vouches for it.

This 1948 classic follows the career of a promising young ballerina, Victoria Page. She entered the most prestigious company in the world under the direction of the uncompromising Boris Lermontov. She is on her way to the top but she comes to a crossroad: Boris demands total commitment to ballet and she is in love with Julian Craster, the composer of her ballet company.

Which will she choose, ballet or marriage? Who will have her, Boris or Julian?

That's probably what makes the movie so interesting. It's not really ballet. The main character is a ballerina but it could have easily been any type of artist or any person who has to prioritize either their work or their families. As a matter of fact, Julian and Boris also make this choice and I see a lot of suffering in them as well.

While watching, we become as divided as her because we wish she could have it all, but we know she can't.

Though, I have to say, I am incredibly partial towards Boris. He always seemed like a much more interesting character. Sophisticated,  elegant, demanding, uncompromising, and completely dedicated to ballet to the point he arranges his life according to it. 

For example, when Irina announces she is leaving the ballet to get married, Boris simply walks out of the room. She is dead to him. The ballet coreographer Grisha, on the other hand, behaves in a much friendlier and humane way. When Irina asks him if he hates her, he kindly replies: "I could never hate you, but how could I ever forgive you?" For Grisha there is life outside the ballet, for Boris there isn't.

Julian is also a great character, but I liked Boris from the very first scene. I mean, he almost declined a party invitation from a countess. Then, he snubbed the same countess not because he is a snob (well, not just because of that), but because he doesn’t fell like having a ballet audition every party he goes to.

Bottom line: all those who want to achieve greatness, and that probably includes Scorsese, have to make certain sacrifices. Victoria's predicament is only made worse by the fact she is a woman and that she is a dancer.

And for those who do love ballet, rest assured that unlike Black Swan and Benjamin Button, the main character and three other supporting characters are played by real ballerinas, so no fake dancing!

Have you seen The Red Shoes? What do you think about Victoria's fate?

Images via Take Off the Red Shoes (filled with great images from the movie!)

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  1. Wow, seems like an interesting movie. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. It is! I hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think of it ;) xx


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