We’re snowed and iced in here in Portland. I spent the afternoon watching The Red Shoes (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressberger, 1948). I couldn’t think of better way to spend my time than in the company of Moira Shearer. No matter how many times I watch this film I am always struck by how extraordinary she is, both as a dancer and as an untrained but instinctual actress. If you haven’t seen this film, you must!
The Red Shoes (1948) dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
They dance her out into the street, they dance her over the mountains
and valleys, through fields and forests, through night and day. Time
rushes by, love rushes by, life rushes by, but the Red Shoes go on.
The Red Shoes and Ballerina/Leap! - Merdette Theory Time!
Okay so remember when Odette gets a box and she takes a pair of red ballet shoes and in the end she gives them to Felicie?
Well, I was watching the trailer of a certain movie called “The Red Shoes (1948)” and I thought “oh hey, they are probably doing a little homage to this movie in Ballerina that’s why Odette has those shoes”, but then this dialogue showed up in the trailer:
“Julien, I love you”
He looks at the red shoes
“But you love that more”
And I came up with a little theory about Odette and Merante’s past.
See, this is the plot of
The Red Shoes
“Vicky Page is an aspiring dancer who is torn between dedication to dance and the will to love. Her manager demands exclusive dedication to the ballet, but Vicky falls in love with Julian Craster and ends up having to choose between her career and her romance.”
And I can’t stop thinking, what if the homage to that movie was more than the shoes? What if Odette’s story was like that too?
My little theory is that basically, Odette and Merante danced at the same Theatre/Opera and were kinda of rising stars, Merante ended up falling for her but even though Odette liked him too, her dedication to ballet was so big that it blinded her, she didn’t want anything other than to dance and was afraid that a romance (specially with her friend and colleague) would muddle her career and dance skils. And then the fire happened…
You know, this theory makes it easier to accept why Odette and Merante grew distant even though they might have been friends in the past. Not only she rejected his feelings but after the fire he might have gone after her and she denied his help, for she was too ashamed of facing him now.
That makes me understand a different meaning in Odette’s expression when Merante decides to give Felicie a second chance:
Look at her face, she seems surprised and even confused like, “After all I did why are you still helping me?”
Because his feelings toward her never really dissapeared. Even though he might have gotten over most of his romantic feelings, there is always an admiration for Odette that drives him closer to her.
And then when Merante sees that she notices his presence he gives her this look
And this is where I think she realizes he still has feelings for her.
After this, the movie indicates that when Felicie was gone they had an interaction when Merante offered a place for Odette to stay, and if he knows she was fired then he knows everything that happened and that means these two must have had a big conversation. It’s a shame that the movie doesn’t show us that scene but imagine what more they could have talked about? Whaterever it was, it was important enough to give Merante the courage to make a move again (y’all know what scene i’m talking about!)
And you know what? I think they’ll figure everything out now.