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I Danced Frightening Things

14m Video Essay 2023

A film by Niamh McCann.

This video essay uses The Red Shoes (Powell and Pressburger, 1948) as a framing device to explore the themes of ego, power and control which can be seen throughout the films of Powell and Pressburger.

Throughout the essay McCann draws parallels between the central power dynamic within The Red Shoes, between Page and Lermontov and the relationship of real life ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and impresario Serge Diaghilev. This work focuses on the creative potential of passion and the destructive nature of obsession. McCann uses audio visual language and the music of Belfast based composer Liam McCartan (AKA Son Zept) to draw the viewer in and unnerve them while evoking a sense of destabilisation. With this film McCann aims to connect her audience with the experience of losing control, whether within oneself, to an art or to another.

Footage collected by Niamh McCann. Commissioned by Queen’s Film Theatre.

Part of Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell and Pressburger. With support of the BFI Film Audience Network, awarding funds from the National Lottery in order to bring this project to more audiences across the UK.


Niamh McCann


Son Zept




United Kingdom