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swan_tower in re_mused

looking for a recommendation

I've begun teaching my class on fairy-tale retellings, and since people expressed an interest back when I last talked about this, I'll post my syllabus when I've made my final decisions about the short stories we'll be reading in the second half of the semester.

But before then, I need a recommendation. We're watching movies on Fridays, and while I have most of those picked out, I need one more. We started with Disney's Sleeping Beauty and will be moving on to Ever After with Drew Barrymore starting next week; later we'll be watching Into the Woods, Shrek, and The Brothers Grimm. Since those latter films are all about pastiche, I'd like one more that retells a single fairy tale, but I'm not sure what to go with. I'd like to stay away from Disney (since they're so familiar to begin with, and I've used one already), but I'm having a hard time thinking of other single-tale films. Pastiche really seems to be a more popular mode lately.

Any suggestions?


I'll keep that in mind, but I think I'd prefer to go for a story we haven't already watched (Ever After is also "Cinderella").
Does it need to be a recent film?
Not particularly, no. I mean, Sleeping Beauty is from 1959.
How about Cocteau's La Belle et la Bete? It's been a while since I've seen it, but would be quite a contrast with the Disney version!

I hadn't thought of that! Never seen it myself, but I could give it a watch before we get to the point of needing it.
How about Snow Queen with Bridget Fonda?
Huh, I don't think I knew of that one. I'll take a look!
Maybe a parody instead of a pastiche?

A la Monty Python or SNOW WHITE AND THE THREE STOOGES or http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055458/
Mmmmm. I'll have to think about that -- I'm not sure if I would want to do a parody or not. (I had no idea MP had done one, though -- thanks for the heads-up.)
I recommend "Snow White: A Tale of Terror" with a magnificent Sigourney Weaver as The Queen. It's a single retelling of the original fairytale, but it's also completely original - the emphasis is on terror, as the subtitle suggests, rather than cutesy dwarves and lots of skipping in the woods. However, the ending is satisfying and triumphant, without being cloying and overly sweet.

But I have to caution you: it's also very, very sexual, both implied and, er, right in your face. The imagery is bloody, violent, and highly sexually charged - it makes for a better film, IMO, but it may not be an appropriate version for high schoolers (not because they can't understand it, but because of litigious parents and school administrators). I think it's a perfect film for viewing and discussion, but probably only for college-level courses.
Have you considered using Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre? You'd need to use more than one if you're going for feature length, but you've got 26 tales to choose from.
Company of Wolves and/or Freeway.

Oh, wait. High school? Freeway could be problematic. Company of Wolves is a better movie anyway.
How explicitly violent and/or sexual is Company of Wolves? This is for a college course, but I don't want to push them too far (with a movie, anyway).
Well, it's very obviously sexual, but but there are barely any actual sex scenes in it. It's all sexual tension and implication. The violence won't upset them, because the special effects are so dated.
Did you get a chance to check out Snow Queen? It's one of those Hallmark mini-series. I'd like to know what you thought of it. I did like Bridget Fonda, but there were elements in the movie that made me cringe. Especially the actors who played the other seasons. But my kids really liked it.
I saw that one a while ago; it was okay. I'm leaning away from using it, though, because I can't assume my students are all that familiar with "The Snow Queen," and (at least for the movie choices) I'm trying to stick with ones they know well.
I remember that movie--as I recall, it went on forever. Really. Hours and hours and bloody hours.
yep. I watched about half with my kids, turned it off and let them watch the rest by themselves the next night.

January 2008


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