Sunday, August 11, 2013

Special Presentation: Danishka Esterhazy's "The Red Hood"

While I try to point you toward a fairy tale film on Sundays on the FB & Twitter supplemental news feeds, today's short film is extra special and getting a full post.

I mentioned in a recent post about the new neorealist Hansel and Gretel film, H&G, that I would be showcasing more of Danishka Esterhazy's amazing work with fairy tales in film very soon.

Today I'm pleased to present The Red Hood.

I just LOVE this film! Ms. Esterhazy has kindly given me special permission to share it with you here on Once Upon A Blog, and I feel privileged to do. The whole short film is here but in only 9 (ish) minutes, we have a really stunning and memorable updating of a very familiar tale.

Ms. Esterhazy describes it as: "Set in the Canadian prairies during the Great Depression, The Red Hood is a dark re-telling of the classic fable Little Red Riding Hood, and a work of lyrical realism that deconstructs the tale’s underlying gender moral."

Take a look:
✒ ✒ ✒  ✒ (click the "Read more" link below this line) ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ 

Ah! Powerful storytelling!

I don't mind telling you I felt like standing up and CHEERING at the end of this! Maybe that's not entirely appropriate, given the implied violence but I so completely felt for the young woman and responded with a resounding YES! when she finally stepped up to take charge of her own destiny.

Along with mythic indie filmmaker Lisa Stock (InByTheEye), Danishka Esterhazy is clearly the kind of strong and unique storyteller we need today - both for fairy tales and for society. For what better way to help people with their own stories than by seeing them resonate with those of myth and tale?
Screen capture from the 2012 NSI Festival Promo

Ms. Esterhazy was showcased and interviewed by Film Fairy about her work on The Red Hood. An excerpt is below:

While the website for Film Fairy doesn't seem to be loading at the time of writing, you can read the rest of the interview with Ms. Esterhazy HERE.

Also interesting is her statement from the NSI (National Screen Institute) website:
Director’s statementDanishka Esterhazy says:The Red Hood is a dark re-telling of the traditional fable Little Red Riding Hood set in the Canadian prairies during the Great Depression. It is a work of lyrical realism that deconstructs the tale’s underlying gender moral.
Little Red Riding Hood tells the story of a girl who must enter the dangerous forest to bring her grandmother a basket of food. Along the way, she disobeys her mother’s warnings and strays from the path where she encounters a charming wolf. This wolf later poses as the girl’s grandmother in an attempt to murder and eat the girl. Only the power of a good man, the woodsman, is able to save the girl from her own folly. Little Red Riding Hood is a morality tale in which female disobedience and, by implication and symbolism, female unchasteness, results is violent peril.
In The Red Hood I wanted to subvert this moral and create a complex female protagonist who is neither victim nor predator. I wanted to create a character who defies the virgin/whore dichotomy and exists as a fully human and fully fallible woman. 
I have been inspired by filmmakers Jane Campion and Catherine Breillat who excel in their portrayals of this moral grey zone. I want to take their rich understanding of character and fuse it with the magic of fable. I hope that audiences will find the results to be unique and powerful.”
Hopefully you now understand more of why I want you to know about these amazing storytellers; to know their names, cheer them on in festivals, request their work be screened in our cities and support their films in whatever way we can. (It should also be noted that she's a strong and respected female voice in a male dominated field - something that's not only an impressive achievement but points to her as a much needed advocate for stories by women, about women, for women of today.)

A big thank you to Ms. Esterhazy for allowing me to share her film and vision with OUABlog readers today. We are cheering for you Danishka and cannot wait to see what tales you have in store for us in the future.

Ms. Estehazy's website is HERE. Information on her current film in production, H&G, is HERE, and her Vimeo channel is HERE.

1 comment:

  1. wow! that's a fine piece of film-making & story-telling there...yes, disquieting, but honest & unflinching. like you, i felt the ending was appropriate or satisfying, despite the violence of it. because, realistically, how else could she have a happy ending? flight being probably out of the question, given time & place & circumstances...