". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, July 8, 2011

*Sleeping Beauty* - Catherine Breillat’s Film Retelling of the Fairy Tale

Catherine Breillat opened her projected triology of fairy tale films with "Bluebeard." She plans to conclude the trilogy with "Beauty and the Beast." Her middle filmed fairy tale is "Sleeping Beauty."  The New York Times Movie section review includes two clips from Breillat's "Sleeping Beauty," one of which is exclusive to the Times.

"The story of the adolescent princess cursed to fall into a deep sleep has been told by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and many others, including of course Walt Disney, who gave her a blond mane and not a single memorable song. Ms. Breillat’s version begins similarly to Perrault’s, with the birth of a princess. A wizened, cackling fairy greets the child by cursing her, declaring that she will die on her 16th birthday after being pricked by a spindle. Fortunately three good fairies flutter in, and with a few waves of their sparkling wands change fate: instead of dying, the princess will sleep. Then Ms. Breillat waves her own magic wand and takes the princess somewhere completely unexpected.

As she did in “Bluebeard” Ms. Breillat puts a child at the center of “The Sleeping Beauty,” almost as if she wanted to get her hands on the girl (who can be seen as a stand-in for all girls) before the fairy tale has its way with her. In her version of “Bluebeard” Ms. Breillat switches back and forth between two young sisters shivering along to the gruesome tale (one is reading it, and the other is listening, sometimes reluctantly) and two young women playing parts in a period version of the story. Here the figure of the girl is more active (or so it initially seems). Instead of reading the fairy tale she plays the central role: On her 6th (rather than 16th) birthday, Anastasia pricks her hand and then, surprisingly, she sets off."
Watching this you cannot but hope this could be part of the antidote to the Pink Princessfying Poisoning of our daughters and grand-daughters that appears to have no end in sight, particularly as women's achievements to be fully integrated equally into all parts of our economic, cultural, legal and political systems keep rolling back at ever more rapid pace (just here in the U.S. more women have lost their jobs in the public and private sectors than men, and have a harder time finding a new job -- as men are now being hired in their place even in the sorts of work that has traditionally been filled by women).  However, I have no hopes for that in this nation, at least, because here  the little girls, under six, who are mass infected with Pink Princess, via Disney, and Disney animations never fall out of favor.  Breillat's "Sleeping Beauty" is in French, with English subtitles and many of the little girls six and under not be able to keep up with the English subtitles.

Ah, well, at least little girls in the U.S. will arrive in the poorhouse wearing rags in that fetching filmy pink.

1 comment:

T. Clear said...

This sounds fantastic. I always refer to the Pink Princess phenomenon as Disneyfication.