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Festival du Nouveau Cinéma: "La Belle Endormie"

Posted by Amie / October 22, 2010

20101022LaBelleEndormie.jpgI think I have a thing with twisted fairy tales.
La Belle Endormie/Sleeping Beauty
plays again at the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma on Sunday at 5:15 at the Imperial. This is also definitely NOT sleeping beauty as you may remember, and it's definitely plenty artsy and weird enough to make you feel as though you're inside the head of a sleeping 6 year old who's wandering through her own dreams, completely aware that she's the one in control.

Most kids aren't so smart at 6, but born into a world of bickering fairies who bestow 'gifts' (to paraphrase: youth sucks anyway, so why don't we let her go to sleep at 6 and wake up at 16? Makes sense, the others agree...), you figure this kid's ingrained paranoia of never waking up means she has a few things figured out. She does outsmart an ogre, so there's something to be said for that, right? In fact, a lot of people threaten her life...but only in her dreams...which she knows she does she have a thing for death ("And in that sleep of death what dreams may come")? The rigid acting and sometimes disconnected plot make a strange kind of sense when you remember it's this child's world, not yours. You're a guest.

Still, the story's theme of love is present, though it's thoroughly turned on its head when the girl goes looking for her 'prince' instead of the other way around. The coming of age lessons are blatant, and so is the film's feminism, but otherwise it's a pretty comfortable trip through Lapland on a mule, a gypsy enclave, an Alice In Wonderland/Hansel and Gretel surrealist castle where all you eat is meringue, and modern day France complete with hip black tights, boredom, and malaise.

This is the second adaptation of a Perrault fairy tale for director Catherine Breillat, and I'm not sure if I want her to get her hands on Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood since her versions of the stories that aim to clear up the glossed over parts of the stories just add a few more layers of paint to the already-overwhelmed canvas...but at least the extra colours are beautiful.

La Belle Endormie (French and Russian with English subtitles)
October 24th, 5:15pm
Impérial Theatre
1432 rue de Bleury
For tickets, go to the FNC box office, or call 514-790-1245



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