Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Different Kind of Fairy Tale

Sleeping Beauty (2011) - Breillat
Catherine Breillat spins another well known fairy tale into a feminist sexual intrigue. Anastasia is cursed at her birth by a witch, that she will die after pricked by a spindle at age 16. But three good fairies intervene in time and change her fate: she will sleep for a hundred years instead. But when she is 6, Anastasia hits the road and encounters many strange people. And she is on her way to rescue Peter the prince (a childhood friend, older cousin, brother, uncle?) from the ice queen (stand-in for puberty). Now 16 and a hundred years later, Anastasia wakes up in the modern world and flirts with hunky Johan and experiments with homosexuality.

Breillat's second interpretation of the fairy tale trilogy (first Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast planned), is much more playful and sumptuous (from production design to cinematography) than her previous efforts I've seen by her. Anastasia's journey is fantastic and candy colored. It ends abruptly with the dark undertones of sexual violence (fantasy or otherwise). It's a very intriguing film.