The Red Shoes in the Spotlight

Join us to dive deeper into the breathtaking world of Powell and Pressburger’s Technicolor masterpiece. Pamela Hutchinson, author of the recently published BFI Film Classics book on The Red Shoes, will present an illustrated talk examining some of the elements that make the film so endlessly fascinating. She will then be joined by special guests to consider the film’s wide-reaching influence on cinema and other artistic forms.


Judith Mackrell has been writing about dance for over forty years. She was chief dance critic of The Independent between 1986 and 1995 and of The Guardian from 1995 to 2020. She has broadcast widely on the arts and is the author of four critically acclaimed biographies, Bloomsbury Ballerina, Flappers, The Unfinished Palazzo, and Going with the Boys, the stories of six women who were front line journalist in World War Two. Her books have been translated into several languages. In 1995 she was elected Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban Conservatoire and in 2018 was awarded the inaugural One Dance UK award for Dance Writing.

Helen Persson is a fashion historian, with over 20 years curatorial experience, mainly with the V&A. There, she conceived, developed and acted as lead curator for the exhibition ‘Shoes: Pleasure and Pain’, and edited the accompanying publication (2015). She curated the touring exhibition to the USA and China, until it finally closed in Hong Kong at the end of 2018. Helen’s research centres on transnational fashion and material culture, primarily concerning Euro-Chinese cultural exchange. She has lectured internationally and published extensively on the subject, notably ‘Orientalism in 1920s Swedish fashion’ in 100 Years of Longing for the Orient: The Swedish Orient Society (2023) and ‘Walking Out’ in Alexander McQueen(2015). She is a board member of Worthing Theatres & Museum and the Costume Society, UK. Currently, Helen is a SGSAH AHRC PhD candidate at University of Glasgow, researching the trade and fashionable use of Chinese painted silks in eighteenth-century Britain.

Sally Potter made her first 8mm film aged fourteen. She has since written and directed nine feature films, as well as many short films (including Thriller and Play) and a television series, and has directed opera (Carmen for the ENO in 2007) and other live work. Her background is in choreography, music, performance art and experimental film. Orlando (1992), Sally Potter’s bold adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s classic novel, first brought her work to a wider audience. It was followed by The Tango Lesson (1996), The Man Who Cried (2000), Yes (2004), Rage (2009), Ginger & Rosa (2012) and The Party (2017). Her latest film, The Roads Not Taken premiered at Berlin Film Festival in 2020 and her latest short film Look at Me premiered at Venice Film Festival 2022. In 2023 Sally released her debut album Pink Bikini.

Sally Potter is known for innovative form and risk-taking subject matter and has worked with many of the most notable cinema actors of our time. Sally Potter’s films have won over forty international awards and received both Academy Award and BAFTA nominations. She has had full career retrospectives of her film and video work at the BFI Southbank, London, MoMA, New York, and the Cinematheque, Madrid. She was awarded an OBE in 2012. Her book Naked Cinema – Working with Actors was published by Faber & Faber in March, 2014.

Sally Potter co-founded her production company Adventure Pictures with producer Christopher Sheppard.

Host: Pamela Hutchinson is a freelance critic, curator and film historian. She writes for publications including Sight and Sound and The Guardian and regularly appears on BBC radio. Her publications include BFI Film Classics on The Red Shoes and Pandora’s Box, as well as 30-Second Cinema and essays in several edited collections. She has curated film seasons on Marlene Dietrich and Asta Nielsen for BFI Southbank and a touring programme on Pre-Code cinema, with Christina Newland. She is a columnist for Sight and Sound and edits the Weekly Film Bulletin. Her website is devoted to silent cinema.

The Small Back Room
Fri 1 Dec 18:10 (+ intro); Sun 10 Dec 18:30; Sat 16 Dec 20:45; Fri 22 Dec 18:20; Wed 27 Dec 20:30; Sat 30 Dec 15:00
Oh… Rosalinda!!
Sat 2 Dec 11:45; Wed 13 Dec 20:45
Lazybones + Her Last Affaire
Sat 2 Dec 15:20; Wed 20 Dec 17:50
The Love Test + Something Always Happens
Sun 3 Dec 15:30; Tue 19 Dec 20:20
Library Talk: The Glass Pearls
Mon 4 Dec 18:30 BFI Reuben Library
Wanted for Murder + intro by Simon McCallum, BFI curator
Mon 4 Dec 20:40
Projecting the Archive: The End of the River + intro by film scholar Dr Kulraj Phullar
Tue 5 Dec 18:20
The Phantom Light
Wed 6 Dec 20:30; Sun 17 Dec 12:30
Peeping Tom
Thu 7 Dec 20:45 (+ intro); Sat 9 Dec 15:00 (+ Doesn’t Exist magazine launch and panel discussion hosted by Victor Fraga); Fri 15 Dec 20:50; Mon 18 Dec 20:45; Thu 21 Dec 18:00; Sat 23 Dec 18:00; Fri 29 Dec 18:15
The Red Shoes
From Fri 8 Dec
The Red Shoes in the Spotlight
Fri 8 Dec 18:00
Bluebeard’s Castle (Herzog Blaubarts Burg)
Fri 8 Dec 20:40; Fri 15 Dec 18:10 (+ intro by writer Lillian Crawford); Sat 23 Dec 13:30
Crown v. Stevens + Behind the Mask (aka The Man Behind the Mask)
Sat 9 Dec 12:40; Sat 23 Dec 15:00
The Tales of Hoffmann
Sat 9 Dec 17:30; Tue 12 Dec 20:20 (+ intro by Andrew Moor, Manchester Metropolitan University); Sat 16 Dec 14:45; Sat 30 Dec 17:30
Honeymoon (Luna de miel)
Sun 10 Dec 13:25; Thu 28 Dec 20:40
Queering Powell + Pressburger
Tue 12 Dec 18:00
Experimenta: Michelle Williams Gamaker and Powell + Pressburger + Michelle Williams Gamaker in conversation with Dr Kulraj Phullar
Wed 13 Dec 18:05
They’re a Weird Mob
Sat 16 Dec 17:45; Fri 29 Dec 20:40
Espionage: Never Turn Your Back on a Friend / A Free Agent + intro
Sun 17 Dec 15:15
Age of Consent
Fri 22 Dec 20:45; Wed 27 Dec 18:15
A Matter of Life and Death
Sat 23 Dec 15:00 BFI IMAX
Black Narcissus
Sat 30 Dec 14:30 BFI IMAX

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Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound and the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email