Movie Review: Sleeping Beauty*.

 

I usually don’t care for indie, artsy films with an “underlying message”. Give me fluff and fun any day.

So it was unusual for me to want to see Sleeping Beauty, the latest Cannes Film Festival effort by Julia Leigh, starring Sucker Punch’s Emily Browning.

Let’s just say I should have left well enough alone and left it to the creative/hipster Nova Carlton crew to nod understandingly along with the quiet and confronting scenes, while I scoffed at the pretension and a group of girls up the front laughed at the copious amounts of nudity.

This was something I took issue with. Normally, nudity doesn’t bother me so long as it’s not gratuitous and lends itself to the story. Browning’s naked body in almost every scene was an integral part of the story when she becomes the titular “sleeping beauty”. However, she also slept naked, went topless at the request of her dying friend, and basically hung around in her natural state. Which is all well and good if this were real life, but the stunted acting and unrealistic dialogue made it clear that the storyline certainly wasn’t realistic. I counted nine instances of Browning’s nudity, not to mention the bondage party at the beginning of the film, which introduces Browning’s character, Lucy, to the underground perversion club she’ll now be working for, and the three old man peens who try to have their wicked and disturbing way with Lucy. But, as madam of the House of Sleeping Beauties, a novella by Nobel prize-winning author Yasunari Kawabata on which Sleeping Beauty is allegedly based, says, “there will be no penetration”. That’s comforting, then!

While I felt that at some point during the movie, Browning’s nudity went from being artistic to exploitative, the same could be said for the men of the movie. Only the older patrons of madam Clara were seen in all their glory, which didn’t take away from Leigh’s commentary on the youth and beauty of Lucy, but was perhaps an effort to objectify the men who objectify Lucy.

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

Related: Sucker Punch Review.

Sucker Punch’s Emily Browning on Slut-Shaming in Hollywood.

Image via IMDb.

Magazines: You Say It Enough, It Loses Its Meaning.

 

“N*gger.” “Wog.” “Hitler?”

According to Fiona Scott-Norman in this fortnight’s Big Issue, Hitler is still a word thats “boil… cannot be lanced”.

N*gger has been reappropriated by African American’s in hip hop and rap music. Wog is a common utterance in Australian society that I don’t personally feel comfortable using, but just flick over to any Aussie comedy and you’ll hear it.

But the same doesn’t go for Hitler, whose reference at the Cannes Film Festival recently by avant-garde Danish film director, Lars von Trier, has seen him banned from the festival for life. “For life!” Scott-Norman reiterates.

von Trier was joking when he said he could relate to the “enduringly monstrous” Hitler. There’s no question it was in bad taste, but banning for life? Really? I’m sure they could focus on banning people like Roman Polanski, who’s a U.S. fugitive wanted for sexual assault, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose marital indiscretions have come to the forefront in recent weeks. But racism is viewed more harshly than sexism. On one hand, I think both should be treated equally. On the other, at least there is a no-tolerance policy on racism in France. John Galliano is testament to that. Mel Gibson’s—who’s been caught on tape espousing racist and sexist vitriol—inclusion on the red carpet at this year’s Cannes not so much.

Related: FuckWalk: The Floodgates Have Opened.

Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

Minus Two & a Half Men.

The Big Issue, 1–14 March 2011 Review.