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The Red Shoes (1948)

The Red Shoes - The triumph of emotion through color — Written by Voltumno on 08.10.2020

This movie is all about pure artistry, and the power of its allure. This is not only embodied in the plot, a tragic tale of life against art, explored through the struggle of a young ballerina of rising fame. It is not just conveyed by the beautiful dancing, an artistic medium particularly suited to act as a frame to the harrowing theme of keeping the self intact against the opposing forces of worldly concerns and artistic ideals. It is also a marvel of technical prowess on the cinematographers' part, especially as it pertains to the use of color. Color design is, in my opinion, the crown jewel of this exceptional film. The shooting technique employed (extremely expensive and complex, featuring multiple overlaying of differently colored film on a black and white basis) is still basically unmatched in the vividness and expressiveness of color. This also works wonders with the beautiful expressionist-inspired production design, which does not inform just the visionary ballet sequences, but also creeps in the daily life shots of characters slipping away into artistic delirium.
A fantastic watch to anyone who wants to experience a work of seminal importance in exploring how cinema as an artistic expression can tackle the most poignant philosophical questions about beauty, love, and the meaning of life.

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