the red shoes

 

i've been a fan of michael powell's classically disturbing peeping tom since i first saw it many years ago. to me, the 60s were a real high point in horror film. and the fact that 1960 saw the release of both peeping tom in britain and then psycho here in the states surely was not a coincidence. both are incredibly psychological films dealing with the terrifying depths of subjectivity that lie within a mad man's mind.

so...i have been wanting to getter a better sense of michael powell's films. it turns out that from a  genre point of view, peeping tom was a bit of an anomaly and is perhaps the film that may even have destroyed powell's career due to it's controversial nature. however, similar themes can still be found in red shoes.

based on the hans christian anderson fairy tale, the film is a series of nested narratives as plays are performed within the film. and though not a horror film, there is a madman at the heart of this story. as well as love, hatred, subjectivity, and obsession.  the imagery is rich and beautiful, with one of the best early exploitations of technicolor. martin scorsese considers this one of his early favorites. fans of ballet and dance will definitely appreciate the fact that the film employs real dancers who act rather than vice versa. the costumes, design and music are all rich and evoke the passion and intensity of the film.

 

stills from michael powell's the red shoes, 1960

bloody bloody andrew jackson: emo rock extravaganza

do you have a favourite president of your country? i know i do, and it's definitely not andy jackson. i'd go as far as to say he could be my most un-favourite. he was known to be a rather cantankerous, populist, manifest destiny espousing douche. before the modern self styled cowboy fakery of ronald reagan or the carefully cultivated down home folksiness of sarah palen, there was the seventh president.

and this is what makes the play  bloody bloody andrew jackson so interesting. it seems not so much a celebration of andrew jackson or even an indictment of him, but rather a thoughtful probing of the origin and underpinnings of populism in the rhetoric of american politics. that and of course the depiction of old hickory as an emo rock hero sounds pretty fun.

unfortunately BBAJ is no longer playing in la. but it has just finished up a recenet new york run so perhaps it will come back soon. read more here.