Mail On Sunday 9/12/01 p33 Ludovic Kennedy & Moira Shearer
Essay by Rebecca Martin
A film like “The Red Shoes” artistically shows a reflection of a life dramatically and impulsively lived out, and it’s beautiful. The prima ballerina Victoria Page, played by Moira Shearer, has a battle between the desire of being the best dancer and being with the love of her life. (SPOILER ALERT) In the end she cannot decide so she runs in to a train, crippling herself taking the choice out of her hands. Like a piece of art we see a reflection a feeling and emotion, and we interpret.
Usually when I analyze a film I like to stick to the film, but this time, I’d like to look a little beyond just the film , and look at the real woman behind Victoria Page, Moira Shearer. Moira was a professional prima ballerina in real life, but becoming a actress compromised her career as a ballerina. Most of her adult life she had mixed feelings about her career choices. Mirroring her division of being an actress and a ballerina to the film, it seems that her love of Sir Ludovic Kennedy (British Broadcaster) balanced her out. They had three children and were together until death. Why I think it’s important in this analysis to bring up the real Moira Shearer is because it demonstrates how art can take our dreams further then we ever could and also show how what we desire now, may actually change.
So going back to the film, Moira who never really watched the film after it’s release did not know about the profound effect it had on cinema and film lovers. Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, these two would be known for their artistic innovative filmmaking, even after Powell made the hated “Peeping Tom”.
The 17 minute visual wonder of “The Red Shoes” performance, takes what’s dimensional seen on stage to another dimension. The trick of the camera takes over and turns men to paper, ballerinas in to other objects, colors that change and adapt different backgrounds. This amazing piece of work could only be done by a camera, and it’s genius. The cinematography has to be given credit to Jack Cardiff, but Powell and Pressburger are the fever dream behind the film and Moira is it’s muse.
And it’s possible that the crazed frenzy of the red shoes power is just a metaphor of what may have happened to Moira in her life if one career had dominated. But because the two, actress and ballerina had divided this led to a very successful love life and marriage. And isn’t that what we all want, not to dramatically choose a path, but let life transform our directions and desires, not the red shoes, but true love of some sorts.
The following excerpt is an appropriate way to sum up this essay:
“We do not succeed in changing things according to our desire, but gradually our desire changes”