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23 February 2010 @ 05:40 pm
Is it French, or is it Italian? Perhaps Fritalian...  
So I've been gone forever. (I say "gone" meaning my posts have been far apart) I swear, there's a reason!

I'm very good at choosing classes for school. So good that I manage to get loaded with work. My American Colonies class is the first time I've looked at the study guide and realized that it's wholly dependent on essays, full of stuff that I don't know. I'm pretty notorious for not studying, but I think it's something that'll have to happen this time. Because I am actually afraid of this exam.

Although my midterm for folklore is pretty easy, there's a lot of work involved. Lots of reading stories. Sounds fun, until you spend three hours reading different versions of Cinderella. They're mostly all the same, but have little differences that I have to know. I was not surprised, actually, that the earliest version is from China, where girls used to bind their feet to make them as small as possible.

I've been watching a number of faerytale-based movies lately, many of which actually deserve some say about them. (I'm telling how they go, literally; there are spoilers, if there's such a thing with this kind of movie.)

First, I've been keeping up with my German by watching Disney in that language. I mention this, because in Cinderella, the entire prologue is basically skipped. They start saying something about America (yes, the word "Amerika" is actually said) and how the English name for Ashenputtel is Cinderella, and the only time the speech corresponds with what you're seeing is introducing Anastasia and Drisella. It's certainly the easiest one to understand; you don't realize how fast people speak in movies until you're watching it dubbed, trying to understand without subtitles. I'm so glad I already knew the stories, or I might pass out from my head working so hard. It's quite a difference reading German and hearing it, especially with only one (solid) year under your belt.

Anyway, I've seen two rather more grisly versions of Snow White, both of which I want to mention. I get the impression that it's an easier story to use that way.

First there's Snow White: Fairest of them All, with Miranda Richardson playing the evil queen. I haven't seen it in a while, so I'll speak from what I remember. It's a very strange version, with a plot that differs in number of ways. First of all, the father was not originally a king, or even wealthy. His wife dies, and he gets lost in a snow storm, and somehow manages to free a (creepyugly) snow sorcerer, who offers him three wishes: he wishes for food for his daughter, a kingdom, and a queen. The Queen, who is actually the sorcerer's sister, is extremely ugly, and he gives her the mirror and her beauty.

As Snow White grows, the Queen begins to get all jealous, and the sorcerer says that she can keep everyone's attention by breaking the mirror, and when she does the pieces rain down and fall in the king's eye. There's a chunk big enough for her to use as a hand mirror. The dwarves are actually parts of the rainbow, and can do express-travel that way. The Queen controls them by turning them into garden gnomes, and the prince is turned into a bear. In the end, the queen loses all her beauty, and begs her brother to give it back to her. He tells her that Snow White wasn't a threat until she was imagined as one, and that the Queen did it to herself. In anger, the Queen throws the mirror at him and it shatters, which breaks the spells. She's killed by all the creatures she turned into garden decorations.

The other one is Snow White: A Tale of Terror, which is much more gothic. It's set in a German kingdom at the time of the crusades, and has a lot more of a psychological approach, along with the magic. Lullian Hoffman (Snow White) is bitter about getting a step-mother, thinking that she's replacing her own mother in her father's heart. The new Lady Hoffman puts serious effort into building a good relationship with Lullian, including having brought a puppy for her upon her arrival. Nine years later, she's heavily pregnant for the first time, and on the night of a ball she offers a dress to Lullian to wear, which she had worn when she was young. Lullian straight out says "I don't want it," then wears one of her own mother's dresses. Her father sees her, and everyone pays complete attention to her. Lady Hoffman goes into labor, and has a stillborn son, then is unable to have another child.

Even though we know the nature of the mirror earlier (Lullian's nurse dies when she sees it) it's the first time it plays a major role. In fact, it's possessed with what we can assume is the spirit of Lady Hoffman's dead mother, and Lady Hoffman spends the rest of the movie determined to get revenge on Lullian for everything she was and is, and trying to bring her stillborn child back to life. The "woodsman" is actually her brother who's a mute, and she kills him after finding out the heart was fake. The "prince" is Peter Guttenburg, who is a doctor that is learned in the world, and is engaged to Lullian before she went into the forest.

There are no cute dwarves; the men that are in the ruins she runs into are outcasts and criminals, punished for unjust reasons. They torment her at first, calling her a "little princess," but many of them die trying to protect her, first as Lady Hoffman causes the gold mine they work in to cave in, then when she causes the trees to fall. Lullian falls in love with one of them, Will, who was forced to watch his family burn at the stake because he wouldn't fight in the crusades. It's he that wakes her up from the poisoned apple, not through a kiss, though, but calling out to her as she "dreamt." Although the nobility would obviously see Peter as her savior, since he went out to find her, we all know that she wants Will. When they go back, there's a scene of the three of them (Lullian, Peter, and Will) trying to find Lady Hoffman and save her father. Peter is killed in the process, thrown out a window to his death. Will rescues Lord Hoffman, but it is Lullian who is the real hero, killing her stepmother boy stabbing the mirror. We are left to assume that they go on with their lives, and she marries Will. In all, a very good take on Snow White.

Now that I've gone and told you how they go, you can go watch it for yourselves! Really, with normal movies I couldn't say that, but with movies based off folklore it's automatically acceptable, since we know the basic plot as it is. (That's why we watch them!)

Later in the semester we're supposed to watch The Company of Wolves, which is based off Little Red Riding Hood. So I'm waiting until I can just watch it there, instead of a crappy version on youtube. But these dark versions of folktales have gotten into my system a bit.

I've got winter break all next week, though, so hopefully I'll get around to writing and drawing. And hopefully I'll have finished getting all the pieces of my Regulus cosplay, and I'll get pictures of that up. (I need a wig and some grey trousers. And probably shoes.)