I loved Catherine Breillat’s The Sleeping Beauty so much, I immediately watched it a second time (both Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard are on Netflix Instant right now, heck yeah!). The story opens traditionally enough: a bad fairy curses baby Anastasia but three good fairies use their magic to soften the blow. Instead of dying, Anastasia falls asleep at age six for a hundred years and wakes up at age sixteen. It’s in her dreams that she embarks on a great adventure where the Sleeping Beauty story gets mashed up with the Snow Queen, cannibal dungeons, and gypsy dens. As a child heroine, Anastasia is a fearless and adorable. As an adult she is kind of lovely in distress.
Young love, stolen by the snow queen.
The final act, when Anastasia wakes up in present day to her prince is- omigod- so sudden and sad and awkward. One of the things that makes Breillat such a cool film maker is how well she can present ugly themes- the awkwardness of puberty, unhappy intimacies, etc- along with lush, romantic imagery.