Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, who's the best writer of them all

Once upon a time, in a land far away... Sounds familiar, doesn't it? There has been a little bit of a resurgence in retelling fairy tales. The redux of Snow White is one example. The stories focus on the idea of someone older and in power, trying to destroy all youthful usurpers, meaning that beauty is some method of taking power—against a matriarchal oppressor. 

As a child, while watching Snow White, I always saw this need to be the most beautiful of all around oneself as some odd flaw, an almost psychotic one. Thus, even though I appreciate the retelling of these tales' willingness to dig a little deeper than a child would, it doesn't seem like they do it well enough. I didn't come to this conclusion on my own, though. No, it took the random find of a very eclectic short film to change my mind.

The film starts out with an old male staring at a mirror (looking suspiciously similar to a  computer screen) and asking "mirror mirror on the wall, who's the best writer of them all?" Of course, this writer comes up once he presses a button. He chuckles and the film pans to him writing on scrolls and etched wood for those in the halls of power of the castle in which he lives.

One day, however, he asks and there's the answer: not him, some dark girl spraying text on the walls of his castle. Furious, he goes after the girl with the help of the nobles who don't take too kindly to what she's saying about them. [1] An assassin is sent after her, but she flees to the woods. 

There she finds a group of rebels. Here she amazes them with her writing. She galvanizes them enough to gather support from the other peasants in the nearby areas and organizes a full on rebellion and they march on the castle. On the way there, an assassin finally poison the girl. A witch in the woods tells the rebels that to save her, she must be soaked in the blood of those who did this. 

They take over the castle and put to the sword all who live there. The girl is revived and all live happily ever after. Harsh stuff. Even heavy-handed, but it at least speaks to trying to upend an entire system instead of a single "bad" person.

Unfortunately, the film has not grown in popularity. I'm not sure why, especially when other pseudo-rebellion TV shows are growing in stature. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to seeing what the director (an anarchist) goes on to say. 

[1] There are actually a handful of endings at the time that I saw the film. The one mentioned in the main text is what was winning the overwhelming amount of votes, but the others, like the girl getting caught, thrown in jail for damaging public property and mysteriously killed in jail. 

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