Friday, 21 September 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Little Red Riding Hood based on The False Grandmother (art film, 1997)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin.
For the last few weeks we have been looking at animated film versions of our tale. Many have featured sex starved wolves (and occasionally sex starved grandmothers) and last week we had a heroine with a bit of spunk who didn’t need to be rescued and outsmarted the wolf on her own.
See the source image

This week we look at an unusual version. A 1997 black and white art film with no dialogue, just a slightly sinister narration by Quentin Crisp. The film is a version of THE FALSE GRANDMOTHER which we discussed early on in Fairy Tale Friday.  This is another version where our clever protagonist outsmarts the wolf on her own through the use of her own bodily functions without the need to be rescued by the woodcutter.
It was directed by David Kaplan, a writer/director of several films based on fairy tales and folklore such as Little Suck-a-Thumb from Struwwelpeter (Shock-Headed Peter) and the Year of the Fish a modern retelling based on a ninth century tale of Ye Xian which is believed to be the oldest version of Cinderella. The film that we are looking at today stars Christina Ricci in the title role, dancer Timour Bourtasenkov as the anthropomorphised wolf and Evelyn Solann as the grandmother. Solann also starred in his version of Little Suck-a-Thumb as the mother.
It is a strange, stylised film full of symbols and symbolic behaviour. The contortions of the dancer cum wolf are frighteningly OTT as well as unintentionally hilarious. The sexiness of Ricci as Little Red cannot be denied and this is a perfect example of the earlier meaning of this tale. She is a young nubile female, seduced into bed by a wolfish man and told to take off her clothes and throw them on the fire as she won’t be needing them anymore. This version alone is worth it just to hear Quentin Crisp’s slightly creepy narration say the words pee-pee and ca-ca. This version ends with a bizarre form of "kiss chase"  which makes it more akin to Angela Carter's The Company of Wolves.  
Watch it Kere:

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned next week for a tale where no one is as they seem and everyone seems to be trying to Hoodwink everyone else.

1 comment:

  1. Well, this was CREEPY. Those weird contacts the wolf was wearing, his unusually slender and tall body, the nails.... whew.

    I actually loved the inclusion of the “pee pee” and “kaka” not just because it’s funny. I really appreciate that the dialogue occurs right after her strip tease, so that it emphasizes the connection of sex and bodily functions instead of seeking to dehumanize women. And I love I that Red uses it as an excuse to maintain control. Could have gone without the “are you pinching off a huge loaf” line though hahaha.

    What are we to make of the fact that Red actually eats her grandmother’s flesh? (And here apparently knowingly) I thought in this adaptation she might have been embracing the “slut” slur thrown at her by (that weird animatronic puppet) cat as reclamation of the word and her sexuality.