4 min read

Òran na h-Eala | Film Review

Anubhav Chakraborty

May 11, 2022 4 min read

Steve Exeter’s movie throws a new light to the song of the swan!


Movie: Òran na h-Eala

Director: Steve Exeter 


 It’s just that you’re about to do something out of the ordinary. And after you do something like that, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before. But don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality. – Haruki Murakami

“Red Shoes”- the very words create a vivid image containing an object of desire and a dream that has kept many young minds occupied with a blissful image. But if we delve deeper we’d find a dark tale waiting to unfold. The original story was from the creative genius Hans Christian Anderson who always took gruesome tales from history and turned them into sweet fairytales. Inspired by this tale involving the red shoes, in 1948, Hollywood filmmaker duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made the cult classic “The Red Shoes”. There actress and legendary ballerina Moira Shearer played the role of Victoria Paige. Moira was at the peak of her career when she was approached for Paige and she was just a woman of 21 years, still unsure about her life’s path and her dreams. “The Red Shoes” went on to become a cult classic, but Moira slowly faded away from stardom, she slowly moved herself away from this shimmering glamour world. 

Director Steve Exeter makes his entry where Moira Shearer fades,and gives us a sensible portrayal of Moira’s dilemma and trouble as she slowly turns herself into Victoria Paige, her onscreen identity.

Exeter begins with the beginning of Moira’s journey with the Sadlers’ Wells ballet Company. There she used to dance as a shadow performer, of another brilliant ballet artist, Margot Fonteyn. Exeter’s dramatised version shows how Moira was approached by Powell and Pressburger and how she had felt torn between her passion and the invitation of the silver screen. As she tosses and turns through the dilemma, Exeter gives us a glimpse into her mind and shows how the mind of an artist is continuously torn apart and how most of their trouble gets lost in the transition from their real face to their persona. Exeter’s Moira is vocal about not being interested in the movies but eventually she gets convinced by the director-duo and plunges herself into this strange world.

The movie is well presented and well directed. Steve has been extremely attached to this movie and the execution shows that. The entire cast has been brilliant in delivering such a power packed performance.  Alastair Thomson Mills and Alec Westwood were adequate as the Hollywood legend duo Powell and Pressburger. But the movie stands out because of the brilliant and mind bending performance by Shannon Davidson. Her acting was so perfect that sometimes it felt as if she was narrating her own journey, instead of acting a script. Her expressions, mannerisms and screen presence were extremely powerful.

Mike Lukey’s “The Song of the Swan” is an original nod to the classic and Arkadi Troitsky has successfully created a complementing ballet choreography that heightens the range of the movie.

In the movie, Exeter has tried to “ celebrate the original film but also shine a light on the uncanny parallels between Moira Shearer and her tragic alter ego Victoria Page. Revealing a complex and defiant young woman who ultimately chose life over fame.” The movie is only thirteen minutes long, and it’s a loss that we couldn’t see Shannon more. Nevertheless, It can be stated that Steve has successfully shown the true essence of Moira Shearer’s life and has presented an extraordinary story in front of his audience.

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