Judging from the buzz around Black Swan, director Darren Aronofsky's cinematic foray into the dark side of ballet is striking a chord with audiences beyond dance aficionados. The dire consequences of obsessive passion have always held a morbid power to fascinate. Yet there's something particularly captivating in how an art form of such sublime grace and beauty can demand such exacting personal sacrifices, excruciating physical exertions, and relentless psychological stress. In the history of cinema, the all-consuming drive for balletic perfection achieved its most resounding expression in 1948's The Red Shoes. The creative work of the Archers (the writing, directing, and producing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger), The Red Shoes uses the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale as the inspirational basis for the story of a talented young dancer expected to forsake all to become the world's most renowned prima ballerina. With visually stunning choreography set against surrealistic backdrops, The Red Shoes is revered for possessing some of the most gorgeously lush Technicolor sequences ever put on film. Recognizing that such a sumptuous display deserves a big screen, local cinema stewards Take-Up Productions will be hosting a holiday weekend screening at the Trylon Microcinema. Artistic obsessions have seldom looked so enticing.
Sat., Dec. 25, 4:30, 7 & 9:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 26, 2, 4:30 & 7 p.m., 2010