01 August 2022

Kate Bush's 1993 Short Film 'The Line, the Cross, and the Curve'

Among its many accomplishments, the fourth season of Netflix's Stranger Things has introduced progressive rock heroine Kate Bush to an entirely new audience, largely through the use of her hit 1985 single "Running Up That Hill" at key moments throughout nine episodes. As a result, she's stormed music charts around the world, and her expansive back catalogue of almost 45 years is receiving a well-deserved re-exploration. While Bush has a slew of impressive music videos, she's only ever appeared in one proper film, 1993's The Line, the Cross, and the Curve - and like the majority of her work, it's an entirely Bush creation, with the epic songstress serving as star, writer, and director. Nearly 30 years after its debut, and with Bush squarely in the centre of the public consciousness, now is the perfect time to re-examine her singular cinematic contribution.

Created as a promotional tool for her 1993 studio album The Red Shoes, this short film is a spin on the classic fairy tale of the same name, in which a young woman puts on a pair of enchanted shoes that cause her to dance unceasingly until and unless she can find a way to remove them. Here, we open on Bush's character in rehearsal with her band until a power outage causes them to take a break. Left alone in the studio, Bush is suddenly confronted by a dark and mystical dancer played by two-time Oscar nominee Miranda Richardson, who implores Bush to help her break the curse of the red shoes by drawing three symbols—the titular line, cross, and curve. However, Richardson's ulterior motive soon becomes clear—by receiving the symbols, she passes the curse onto Bush, and flees through a mirror. Bush pursues her and finds herself in another dimension (an Upside Down, if you will), soon greeted by an otherworldly figure portrayed by British dance legend Lindsay Kemp. He tells her she must "sing back the symbols" to break the curse. After visiting an elderly woman named Lily who gives her advice and comfort, Bush draws on the memories of her loved ones to guide her closer to Richardson's twisted prima ballerina. Giving herself over to the sounds of a jubilant choir, Bush is able to regain the symbols, rid herself of the curse, and escape through the mirror, leaving Richardson crushed under the weight of a cave in with only her feet, once again bearing the accursed shoes, sticking out.

A truly brilliant short movie / really long music video: watch & enjoy!


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