The daring creative collaboration between Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger rewrote the rules of cinema in the 20th century, so much so that the greatest filmmakers of our time, such as Martin Scorcese and Greta Gerwig, regularly cite the duo. As part of a new season at BFI Southbank, a new exhibition turns Powell and Pressburger's 1948 film The Red Shoes inside out.
The Red Shoes, released 75 years ago, takes its cue from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of the same name. Leading lady Moira Shearer, a real-life prima ballerina, plays the role of Victoria Page, a ballet dancer in a new production, beguiled by a pair of red slippers. In Andersen's typical style, reality and fiction become one, with a tragic underlining where the dance takes control of the dancer, who teeters on the edge of sanity. Powell and Pressburger adapted the tale for their film, The Red Shoes, which is particularly for renowned for its feverish colour grade, shot by Jack Cardiff.
Bringing the iconic dance film to the BFI Southbank, Powell and Pressburger's belief that art is life is reflected with over 100 previously unseen costume and production designs, scripts, behind the scenes photographs and posters, and of course, the iconic red ballet shoes from the film.
The Red Shoes: Beyond The Mirror has been co-curated by Claire Smith and Sue Prichard and designed by Simon Costin. Costin is renowned for his work as a set designer and art director in fashion and the arts, notably with Lee Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh. He also founded the Museum of Folklore as a research hub for the UK's folkloric cultural heritage.