The Red Shoes // Die roten Schuhe
|For an application for film school, I needed to write a short story and visualize it in a photo strip of eight pictures. I adapted the tale “The Red Shoes” from Hans Christian Andersen. You can see the series of eight pictures in the slideshow and below the narrative short story.||Für eine Filmhochschulbewerbung habe ich eine Kurzgeschichte geschrieben und in einer Fotoserie von 8 Bildern visualisiert. Dafür habe ich das Märchen “Die Roten Schuhe” von Hans Christian Andersen adaptiert. Es folgt die Bilderstrecke und darunter die Kurzgeschichte (auf Englisch).|
|When the warm tickling of the sun on Karen’s skin wakes her in the morning, it is a good day. She loves to hesitate just for one more second, basking in the sunlight before she has to get up to make breakfast for the landlords. And today is a good day. Soon the sun will be too low to reach her windowsill, because winter is fast approaching. She also realizes that when she gets out of bed, there is a slight chill in the room. Apparently, that night was the first frost of the season. After boiling hot water for the mistress and helping her to dress, she sets out for the daily service at church. She gets her warm coat from under her wooden bed and a green shawl that will keep her throat warm. When she steps outside, she realizes that she has no shoes for the winter. The cold air immediately seeps through her thin brown leather shoes as she advances the village. She has a few coins left from her wages, so she will look for some new shoes after church.
After attending the service, she passes a small shop with red shoes on display. She stops in her tracks, for she is intrigued by the fine red leather and their shiny appearance. The shoes seem to emanate a red glow, which is reflected in her greedy eyes. Unable to resist temptation, she offers the shopkeeper to trade in her winter coat, because they are in great demand by the beginning of winter. Otherwise, she can’t afford the shoes with the money she has left. The shopkeeper agrees, so she is the proud owner of the exceptionally beautiful and striking red shoes. As she leaves the shop, she feels chilly for a moment without her coat, but she just wraps her shawl tight around her, her cheerfulness warming her from the inside.
On her way home, she can’t think of anything else than her shoes, admiring them at every step. She encounters James, a handsome street musician with a wooden flute, who she admires secretly. Through he is sitting in the muck all day, she admires him for his knowledge and endurance besides his lack of wealth. But as she is standing in front of him in his shabby clothes, she feels a little sorry for him, as she proudly shows him the red shoes, feeling giddy and desirable. James starts to play a merry tune on his flute, complimenting her beautiful appearance. The red shoes start to shine in approval, performing a dance that Karen has never learned. Soon her feet get out of control, rocking her body in awkward angles. Her feet continue to dance away, even as she gets out of earshot of the street musician. As she tries to rip the shoes off, it is no use. They seem to be glued to her feet. When her feet carry her out of town and towards a dark forest, she starts to panic.
Being carried further and further into the underbrush, her feet and bare arms are scratched by thorns and branches. She is torn and tired, slowly giving in to the mad dancing. In contrast to her disheveled appearance, the shoes still look perfect, making their way through the muddy forest path, which gets darker with every step they take. At the mercy of the devil-ridden shoes, she spots an axe resting in a nearby tree stump. Realizing her last chance of escape, she advances towards the axe in a macabre limping. After she has gone rid of her disobedient feet, she binds the stumps of her legs with a piece of her underskirt and limps towards the next wayside cross to pray for forgiveness. The dancing shoes still lurk behind every corner, until she has atoned for her greed. As the morning sun rises, she asks for forgiveness, feeling the first rays of sunlight tickling her skin.