Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: God Save My Shoes

Fluffy footwear documentary plays mostly like a luxe shopping promo.

March 29, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1323208-God_Save_Shoes_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Women’s obsession with footwear, famously celebrated in Sex and the City, is the focus of this frivolously diverting, if overlong (even at 70 minutes) and repetitive, documentary by Julie Benasra. Benasra has certainly done her work, interviewing scores of shoe-besotted folk, ranging from famous designers like a campily droll Manolo Blahnik and reigning fashion king Christian Louboutin, to “serious” experts with titles like “Cognitive Behavior Therapist” weighing in with their opinions, to avid consumers (burlesque queen Dita Von Teese; the quite gorgeous and funny drag performer Shequida, who abhors flats; singer Kelly Rowland, who lapses into an almost infantile state while extolling her shoe collection, and others who boast of possessing pairs in the thousands). Indeed, the only usual suspect missing from God Save My Shoes seems to be Imelda Marcos herself, and I’d just bet Benasra tried to get her.

Even in these economically hard times, women keep buying shoes, at the rate of 20 million pairs a year in the U.S., averaging seven to eight pairs annually, making it a $40 billion business. The main reason seems to go beyond any and all practical considerations, having far more to do with the need for glamour and that touch of personally transforming fantasy which the mere purchase of a kicky pair of kicks can bestow. Benasra decidedly keeps her focus on the so-called one-percent here, not bothering much with average gals who would consider a C-note a lot to pay to be shod, like Beth Shak, a professional poker player who owns 1,200 pairs, or the comically named “Baroness Monica von Neumann,” a black diva who demonstrates the proper way to walk in her pricey heels, inspired by what streetwalkers wear on the prowl.

The stiletto heel emerges as the real star of the movie, that outrageous instrument of torture that gained prominence after World War II through sexpot pinup images. Now vertiginously—not to mention perilously—designed to be five inches, if not more, in height, its appeal stems from the way it magically turns any woman’s body into an approximation of a Barbie doll through the posture one must assume to achieve proper balance and not keel over. (Indeed, Barbie’s feet, from her 1958 inception, have always been permanently molded with an arch to fit into stilettos.) There’s a brief, heated argument as to who exactly invented the stiletto, with names like Roger Vivier, Ferragamo and Perugia tossed about, and that is about as intellectually weighty as things get.

Some actual shoe history does get mentioned, like those amazing chopines, dating back to the 15th century, which added actual feet to one’s height. One wishes more of this had been included, as all those ladies’ rhapsodies about naughtily feeling like a kid in a candy store in shoe salons, or even like—giggle-giggle—hookers in their pricey Versaces, become more than a bit redundant.



Film Review: God Save My Shoes

Fluffy footwear documentary plays mostly like a luxe shopping promo.

March 29, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1323208-God_Save_Shoes_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Women’s obsession with footwear, famously celebrated in Sex and the City, is the focus of this frivolously diverting, if overlong (even at 70 minutes) and repetitive, documentary by Julie Benasra. Benasra has certainly done her work, interviewing scores of shoe-besotted folk, ranging from famous designers like a campily droll Manolo Blahnik and reigning fashion king Christian Louboutin, to “serious” experts with titles like “Cognitive Behavior Therapist” weighing in with their opinions, to avid consumers (burlesque queen Dita Von Teese; the quite gorgeous and funny drag performer Shequida, who abhors flats; singer Kelly Rowland, who lapses into an almost infantile state while extolling her shoe collection, and others who boast of possessing pairs in the thousands). Indeed, the only usual suspect missing from God Save My Shoes seems to be Imelda Marcos herself, and I’d just bet Benasra tried to get her.

Even in these economically hard times, women keep buying shoes, at the rate of 20 million pairs a year in the U.S., averaging seven to eight pairs annually, making it a $40 billion business. The main reason seems to go beyond any and all practical considerations, having far more to do with the need for glamour and that touch of personally transforming fantasy which the mere purchase of a kicky pair of kicks can bestow. Benasra decidedly keeps her focus on the so-called one-percent here, not bothering much with average gals who would consider a C-note a lot to pay to be shod, like Beth Shak, a professional poker player who owns 1,200 pairs, or the comically named “Baroness Monica von Neumann,” a black diva who demonstrates the proper way to walk in her pricey heels, inspired by what streetwalkers wear on the prowl.

The stiletto heel emerges as the real star of the movie, that outrageous instrument of torture that gained prominence after World War II through sexpot pinup images. Now vertiginously—not to mention perilously—designed to be five inches, if not more, in height, its appeal stems from the way it magically turns any woman’s body into an approximation of a Barbie doll through the posture one must assume to achieve proper balance and not keel over. (Indeed, Barbie’s feet, from her 1958 inception, have always been permanently molded with an arch to fit into stilettos.) There’s a brief, heated argument as to who exactly invented the stiletto, with names like Roger Vivier, Ferragamo and Perugia tossed about, and that is about as intellectually weighty as things get.

Some actual shoe history does get mentioned, like those amazing chopines, dating back to the 15th century, which added actual feet to one’s height. One wishes more of this had been included, as all those ladies’ rhapsodies about naughtily feeling like a kid in a candy store in shoe salons, or even like—giggle-giggle—hookers in their pricey Versaces, become more than a bit redundant.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Bicycling with Moliere
Film Review: Bicycling with Moliere

This sly, witty, charming comedic contemporary study of a fraught friendship between two actors hoping to mount a Molière classic is also a ride through France’s beautiful Ile de Ré island. More »

Locke
Film Review: Locke

Taut, disturbing and unique drama about a man racing toward his destiny, providing Tom Hardy, literally, with a vehicle to flaunt his acting chops. More »

Small Time
Film Review: Small Time

You might not buy a used car from the guys in Small Time, but you will enjoy the movie about their exploits, even their exploitations (of others). More »

Fading Gigolo
Film Review: Fading Gigolo

Some top screen talent gets lost in the silliness surrounding the amorous adventures of an unlikely gigolo and his even more unlikely pimp, with writer/director/actor John Turturro the shtupper “ho” co-starring with Woody Allen as the mercenary shtup-enabler. Yarmulkes off to Turturro’s brave but deeply ill-conceived comedic foray into Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community and other alien territory. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Transcendence
Film Review: Transcendence

Johnny Depp is an idealistic researcher whose consciousness is uploaded into an artificial intelligence in this slick techno-thriller with delusions of seriousness from Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer. More »

Draft Day
Film Review: Draft Day

Pro football manager faces crises on the most important day of his career in a well-tooled vehicle for Kevin Costner. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here