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Like any genre, the ballet movie has its bankable trademarks: snooty temperamental geniuses, elegant cocktail parties with pushy patrons, and conflicted young dancers desperately trying to make their dreams a reality. Two recent cinematic glimpses into the world of ballet, Frederick Wiseman’s documentary La Danse and Darren Aronofsky’s psychodrama The Black Swan—for all of their considerable differences—both dialed down the romanticism of their upscale milieu, focusing instead on the craft’s endless repetition and punishing physicality. If the struggles of professional dance play as largely foreign to contemporary audiences, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 film The Red Shoes must seem like a glamorous alternate universe, one that seduced an entire generation of young women into pointe shoes and leotards. Presented in a new 35mm print that illuminates the already gorgeous Technicolor of its Criterion Collection DVD, the recent restoration can be partly attributed to financing from director Martin Scorsese, who lists The Red Shoes as one of his all-time favorites.
THE RED SHOES SCREENS AT 6:45 P.M. (PLUS MONDAY AT 2:30 P.M. AND WEDNESDAY AT 6:30 P.M.) AT THE AFI SILVER THEATRE AND CULTURAL CENTER, 8633 COLESVILLE RD., SILVER SPRING. $7-$11. (301) 495-6720.