Magic restored

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A restored version of Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes has been screened at Cannes.

Check out this interview with the wonderful Thelma Schoonmaker.

Schoonmaker is talking about the restoration of The Red Shoes, and it gave me one of my rare moments of absolute green-eyed envy. I would have given my eye teeth to be at this screening. 

The Red Shoes, by Powell and Pressburger (Schoonmaker later married Powell, btw) is a wonderful, glorious, unsettling film about art. When I first saw it as a child, I was still studying dance, so I saw myself as the ballerina. Later in life I saw myself more as the director, or perhaps the composer. But whatever your leanings, it is a fantastic film about the creative process and what it costs you. It is also so weird and trippy and magically creepy that the DH often refuses to watch it because he finds it too unsettling, and it becomes one of my alone-in-the-dark private pleasures. 

The restoration, led by Martin Scorsese, has resulted in what look like gloriously saturated colours. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to seeit on a big screen, sadly, but it looks like I’ll be buying it for the third time – this film has been with me on video and DVD for over 20 years, and now I will definitely want the restored version, which even from a quick glimpse, looks like it jumps right off the screen at you. 

Schoonmaker herself, of course, is no slouch – one of the best, if not THE best, editor in the business. One look at the editing for Raging Bull will tell you that. Worth checking out all of her films on IMDB and going through them one by one. She has worked with Scorsese for over 30 years.

He is now trying to raise money to restore The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp – another Powell and Pressburger masterpiece.

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