24 Frames: The Red Shoes Ballet

Isso é o que acontece quando neguinho resolve fazer uma sequência em live-action do Fantasia do Disney.

On a more practical level, the multimedia nature of film has made it the ideal means for achieving a synthesis of poetry, music, movement and drama. Nevertheless, only a handful of filmmakers has attempted the kind of fusion of the arts sought by romantic extremists. Eisenstein, the most committed and articulate of these seekers, came the closest to this ideal with Ivan grozny (Ivan, The Terrible, 1942-46). This sublime, grandiose and operatic film still frustrates conventional viewers’ expectations, in that it foregrounds stylization at the expense of narrative, empathy, action and complex characterisation. Instead, with its music, elaborate art direction, artificial dialogue, chiaroscuro lighting, exaggerated make-up and kabuki theatre gestures, the film affects its audience primarily at the level of ritual. At the other extreme, the great populariser of the concept of fusion of the arts was Walt Disney, who wanted audiences “to see music and hear pictures” in Fantasia (1940), “the ultimate entertainment”. Fantasia, for Disney, was meant to be experienced more like a live concert than a mere film. “The Nutcracker Suite” suggest that, in its way, Disney’s conception of Fantasia was as grandiose as anything dreamed of by Wagner and Scriabin. Nevertheless, Disney saw his enterprise to link high and mass culture primarily as a fun entertainment, and he had no problem allowing the visual images to overwhelm the music, or altering the music to accommodate his animators.
The English filmmaker most closely linked to film and fusion of the arts is Michael Powell, who directly influenced both Ken Russell and Jarman. From his early days in silent films, Powell believed that success in the cinema was achieved by bringing together the best in those arts (theatre, choreography, painting, etc.) that were necessary for the creation of a film. This idea remained constant with Powell, whether he proposed impossible schemes, such as getting together “a group of people – painters like Picasso and Sutherland, poets like Dylan Thomas – and offering twenty hours of entertainment in colour”, or more practical ones, such as hiring painters to be production designers and composers to be music directors for the films that he made with writer, Emeric Pressburger.
Black Narcissus (1946), for example, he decided not to shoot the film on location in India but in the studio, in order to have complete control over how the atmosphere was built-up through colour, architecture, set design and music. Throughout his career, Powell’s motto was “all arts are one”, and with Black Narcissus he slowly began moving towards his goal of a “composed film” that would embody this conception. With Brian Easdale as his “musical collaborator”, he constructed a ten-minute sequence at the climax of the film in which the music was composed first and thus dictated the movement of the characters, scene composition and editing. For Powell, the sequence became opera – “opera in the sense that music, emotion, image and voices all blended together into a new and splendid whole”.
The Red Shoes (1948) offered another “composed film” opportunity in the justly famous “Red Shoes” ballet sequence that Powell filmed not as ballet-theatre but as film-ballet. However, the ideal of fusion of multiple art forms that Powell was seeking in a “composed film” format was most notably achieved in The Tales of Hoffmann (1951), perhaps the wildest Expressionist film ever made in England.

By Angels Driven: The films of Derek Jarman (Chris Lippard)

2 pensamentos sobre “24 Frames: The Red Shoes Ballet

  1. Pingback: 24 Frames: The Pastoral Symphony (Fantasia, Hamilton Luske / Jim Handley / Ford Beebe, 1940) | Quixotando

  2. Pingback: 24 Frames: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Fantasia, Samuel Armstrong, 1940) « Ken Russell is Dead

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