Christmas is a time for traditions, and a couple indie theaters in Minneapolis are running special screenings to help keep those traditions alive and well.
A beloved Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger classic returns to the big (in a matter of speaking) screen this Christmas, as Trylon Microcinema brings the famed Archers’ ballet classic The Red Shoes for an encore, following last holiday season’s well-attended run.
In their best films, director-producers Powell & Pressburger deftly dance between genres, boast clean, precise compositions, and frequently sprinkle their films with a touch of the fantastic. Their 1948 classic The Red Shoes dances even more literally than that.
The movie seems, on the surface, a standard-issue melodrama about the thee-ah-tah, in which a young dancer makes her mark within the Ballet Lermontov. In doing so, she also leaps into a love showdown.
Powell & Pressburger are never less than fully tapped into the current of the film’s environment, but it really snaps into focus when they reach their centerpiece sequence — a full-length depiction of the titular ballet, based on Hans Christian Anderson.
Because P&P lavish so much attention on the colors and movement of the ballet, it becomes apparent the dance offers comment on the surrounding storyline. In The Red Shoes, the proscenium arch is the show.
The movie screens on Christmas Day and the day after.
The Red Shoes is a new tradition. For something a little more long-standing, you can’t do much better than to head over to St. Anthony Main (i.e. the new home of what was once Oak Street Cinema). The beloved art house theater is presenting a beautifully-restored print of the film that’s attracted holiday audiences to the U campus for over two decades.
As we reported last year, Tage Danielsson’s 1984 children’s film Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter was once a holiday staple at the U’s Bell Auditorium. In 2006, the print moved over to the Oak Street Cinema. Over the years, the print has accrued its share of pops, hisses and breaks. The old print was actually missing about 3 to 5 minutes’ worth of footage due to the ravages of time, according to Minnesota Film Arts’ Ryan Oestreich.
But starting last year, audiences already well familiar with the Astrid Lindgren-penned tale of Ronia, set against the background of a 19-century family feud, were treated with a freshly struck print from out of Sweden. And the print boasts subtitles instead of the awkward English dubbing many audiences had been submitted to over the years.
Ronia runs all next week.
Eric Henderson is a web producer and film blogger for WCCO.COM.