Monday, March 19, 2012

Articles: In Media res Devotes a Week to Fairy Tales

Last week, in Media res: a media commons project devoted a week to posts on Fairy Tales as format. "In Media Res is dedicated to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal forms of online scholarship. Our goal is to promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media. In Media Res provides a forum for more immediate critical engagement with media at a pace closer to how we experience mediated texts." (About) The articles included: 

"Fairy Tales and the Sophisticated Viewer" by Lindsey Kempton: This article discusses how the treditional format of fairy tales is too simplistic for a modern audience, but they have the ability to be easily adapted into sophisticated narratives. 
"Traditional fairy tale narratives are not made for today’s TV. Among a steady increase of smart, narratively complex shows that utilize attributes of the televisual medium, such as seriality and reflexivity, to their fullest, the conventional fairy tale falls flat. Their structures are too linear, too episodic, their worlds too limited, and their characters too static. At the very least, fairy tales’ self-contained stories and one dimensional protagonists would have to be altered to work for TV.  But savvy contemporary TV audiences that embrace, and to a certain extent, expect complicated narratives would yawn at a simple retrofitting of the tales. More significant changes on a narrative and structural level are required to entertain today’s sophisticated viewers."

"A Dream Walking: Desire and Fantasy in Catherine Breillat's The Sleeping Beauty" by Michael Bessozi: Michael examines this very strange and trippy French movie, a combination of Sleeping Beauty and The Snow Queen. 
"Instead, much of the film centers on the internalized desires of tomboy Anastasia (based loosely off of tsarina Anastasia, considered a tomboy in her day). Her dream becomes a quest utilizing elements of Anderson’s "The Snow Queen" to save her brother, yet this heroic journey is disrupted by the inevitable kiss. The film deemphasizes the curse of sleep as Anastasia looks forward to her fantasy adventure and the ability to skip through adolescence. Her awakening is even less dramatic as Breillat makes no separation from the waking world, fantasy, and the passing of time. Instead, Breillat centers on the need for reformulating desires.... By updating the provincial nature of the tale, The Sleeping Beauty suggests that the failure of dreams to contend with reality is not tragic, but inevitable."

"Anime Fairy Tales: Fighting Fate and Convention" by Amanda Landa: This article tells of the anime film Princess Tutu, a fairy tale about a duck who falls in love with a prince and is transformed into a ballerina by Drosselmeyer; it incorporates elements from Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Giselle and the Nutcracker.
"Ahiru (meaning duck), is a duck in love with prince who has lost his emotions and memories. Ahiru makes a wish to be near her love, and through Drosselmeyer, a doomed storyteller with magical powers, she becomes magical-girl-cum-prima-ballerina, Princess Tutu. It is soon revealed that Drosselmeyer has trapped all the characters in a storybook tragedy. The players resist their former roles and struggle against what seems to be inevitable. Princess Tutu is the only one who can enact real change, using selfless love and determination to fight the doomed fates of those around her."

"The Root of Evil--ABC's "Once Upon A Time" Makes Evil Characters More Human " by Mattie Tanner: This article briefly examines the Evil Queen and Rumpelstiltskin in OUAT, and the character's origin stories have delved deep into what makes a person "evil."
"Evil no longer becomes an abstract idea that is the opposite of good, but rather the people that have embraced evil did so because they saw no other way or were hoping to use this evil power for good. These two characters become more human to us through these portrayals, making us feel sympathetic towards them, and allow us to hope that perhaps they don’t have to be destroyed entirely like they are in the original fairy tales, but that they can be changed for the better and be redeemed."

"Grimm: Old School Genre Dressed in the Latest Fashion" by Lisa Schmidt: Lisa laments the recent proclivity to analyze a genre trend (zombies, vampires, etc) by trying to find the horrible cultural trauma that gave birth to it (terrorism, recession, etc), and look at it simply as a fashion. She uses Grimm as an example. 
"I have something of a bee in my bonnet regarding this type of genre criticism.  Of course genres have relationships to their surrounding cultures but this all-too-easy “cultural anxiety” commentary offers little actual insight into the reasons that certain kinds of stories arise and return.  I want suggest that we consider the idea of “fashion,” by which I mean that sometimes story-telling trends develop without a traumatic socio-psychoanalytic origin story.  A trend can manifest in a given season for no other reason than that it seems to be the popular (and profitable) thing."

I discovered this project through Once Upon a Blog here and here.

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