The Sleeping Beauty
I will just come right out with it. I did not “get” “The Sleeping Beauty.” It is beautiful to look at, but, at the same time, just as strikingly non-compelling. French director Catherine Breillat certainly seems to have a point of view and a definite vision. I just wish that she had cared to share it with the audience (which amounted to me and just two or three others at the 2:20 screening this past Friday at IFC Center).
Breillat is a Paris based filmmaker and actress. Interestingly enough she acted in “Last Tango in Paris,” (1972). As a writer/director Breillat is known for her distinctive take on gender issues, sibling rivalry and sexuality, as portrayed in such films as “Fat Girl” (2001) and “Sex is Comedy” (2002).
“The Sleeping Beauty” is a revisionist fairy tale about a young girl, Anastasia (Carla Besnainou) put under a spell to make her sleep for 100 years, and wake up when she is 16. The spell is cast by some attractive witches. Why? I am not sure really, but one of the witches says something about childhood taking too long.
Most of what we see in the film is what Anastasia experiences in her dream world. While it looks appropriately dreamy, the story is not particularly interesting or coherent. Anastasia meets a dwarf and a big guy with sores all over his body and other assorted dream like characters. Eventually she wakes up, at age 16, and the story has to do with her budding sexuality.
At the very least Breillat could have provided “Cliff’s Notes.” Either that, or something was definitely lost in translation.
IFC Center is located at 323 Sixth Avenue at 3rd Street in New York.
“The Sleeping Beauty,” director Catherine Breillat, 2010,
Strand Releasing, 82 minutes