This month I had big plans to hibernate. The kind of hibernation that calls for unflattering pajama pants, cups of hot chocolate laced with brandy, a hefty stack of magazines, and more than just a few sugar cookies. For reasons that I don’t even want to mention as they are so painfully obvious, this December has turned out to be a very somber one and perhaps the urge to hibernate may not have been such a bad idea. Yet, as the month unfolded, these great plans for escape vanished as Christmas orders kept coming in and my social calendar unexpectedly filled up. Finally the other night just as John and I put our feet up after shipping out what appeared to be the last big batch of Christmas orders, John came up with the clever idea to watch ‘The Red Shoes’. I know, it’s a strange suggestion coming from a man, but his taste in film seems to run the gamut from classics like ‘The Red Shoes’ to ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’- which fortunately I’ve been spared from watching.
The strange truth is that I have never seen ‘The Red Shoes’. It always eluded me until John purchased the Criterion Collection copy of the film a short time ago. I knew that I would love it if I ever got the chance to see it as I’ve gleaned enough from film stills and quick excerpts to know that it was a film for me. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a stunning film with a very unsettling undercurrent. A true fairytale. You are never unaware that something dark and shadowy hovers around the pretty edges of the story but doesn’t really present itself until the end. It’s a very painterly film as well. Not just with the set design (how I love to see painted sets) but with the colours throughout the movie- vivid reds, pastel pinks and icy blues. And I can tell you, Moira Shearer’s fantastic hairstyle has already made an appearance in a painting that I’m working on. It felt so good to feel the tingle of inspiration again.
It’s clear that this holiday season will not be a joyous one for many people but I hope everyone finds a little room for escapism whether it be through spending time with family and friends, or simply reading a great book or watching a spectacular film. Cups of hot chocolate laced with brandy wouldn’t hurt either.