I have never been obsessed with super spike heels that cost more than my monthly rent. Nonetheless, I have to admit that I have too many pairs of the hundred dollar or less variety stacked up in my closets. I am not immune to the power of the shoe.
In the new documentary GOD SAVE MY SHOES (2011), director Julie Benasra attempts to explore the meaning of some women’s obsession with the spike heel. The film provides an interesting and albeit sometimes wacky collection of interviews with celebrities, avid shoe collectors, sociologists, shoe designers, and cultural observers (one of whom seems to think that women never talked about sex and relationships before Sex & the City appeared on television).
Although uneven and oddly like an infomercial at times, the film does cover a wide range of subjects, providing some good fun facts to use at cocktail parties, such as shoes being a $40 billion industry and that you can take classes to learn how to walk in preposterous pumps.
Comments and clips featuring burlesque artist Dita Von Teese are designed to be titillating, and we learn of some compelling theories, one putting the forth the notion that the reason the spike is so sexy is that it forces the foot to emulate the shape it takes when a woman has an orgasm.
We hear from a plastic surgeon who specializes in fixing feet damaged by the hellish high heel. And the director of Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum takes us into her archives for a look at the shoe’s place in history. Men smartened up and stopped wearing heels after a few years of doing so in the French court, but women have carried on the tradition thanks to cultural icons like Betty Boop.Shoe designer Pierre Hardy says, “I think women find some pleasure in the pain.” Why is that men who would never wear such contraptions are the leading designers?
I know many people will shake their heads while watching this, but it is entertaining and clever if you can ignore the disdain you may feel for some of the commentators. I will keep this documentary in my file for future use. Perhaps it would be a good opening piece when showing something like KINKY BOOTS.