Tuesday, February 3, 2015

German Beauty and the Beast

The film, Die Schone und das Biest, is from 2012 (I was surprised it's so recent-it has an older, "classic" feel to it, IMO). It's mostly a retelling of the classic French version, although there are elements that I think are clearly influenced by Disney (the roses are linked to the life and death of the Beast, he is animalistic and cruel and even creepier than Disney's Beast initially, a Gaston figure, the strange enchanted servants provide comic relief, etc.) But it's a unique retelling in and of itself, drawing out themes such as classism that recent versions haven't emphasized, and giving characters believable motivations for their actions. This Beauty, Elsa, is at least as fiesty as Disney's Belle-not only does she refuse to eat with the Beast initially and try to run away, she even slaps him!
Maximilian Simonischek and Cornelia Groshel as Arbo and Elsa, or the Beast and Beauty

Unfortunately, this version has no subtitles (there used to be a partial video with English subtitles but it has since been taken down). You can also read the synopsis at IMDB to help fill in any holes
Also note: a fairy tale heroine named Elsa with a long blonde side braid?...interesting coincidence

But seriously, we were impressed with the movie overall, especially since the film seems to have flown under the radar in the US. It's a very timeless, classic retelling, and I could see it being a lot of people's favorite (I still have a personal, emotional attachment to the Disney musical, but this movie is a bit more realistic and not aimed towards children necessarily). For anyone who watches, feel free to chime in with comments-what do you like/dislike about this version, how is it similar to/different from the Disney and the Beaumont (even the Cocteau)? For example, I thought the reason she went to the castle-to simply give him a rose which would, in theory, make up for the rose her father took, was a refreshingly logical thing for Elsa to think. It took away a lot of the extremity of the whole "I will die for you, Father" episode which can come across negatively, especially in this feminist society.

15 comments:

  1. You've got a lovely blog going on here! This movie looks really interesting. Thanks for sharing about it :)

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  2. It will be interesting to see how Disney's live action version of the Beast looks. Would love for them to do him CGI (or animatronic) and really beastly, as opposed to a guy in Prosthetics. Plus any prosthetics they do would probably just look like the guy in the German version.

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    1. This Beast doesn't look too different from the 80s tv show version, they're both very lion-like. The Disney Beast is more buffalo-inspired so assuming they keep the look the same that could still be very different, but it will definitely be interesting to see how he turns out-and how many daily hours it takes to get his makeup on!

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  3. Some background info: The movie is part of the film series Märchenperlen (fairytale pearls). The series is an german-austrian co-production. Since 2005 there has been a release of a new movie each year. They are made for TV and usually have their first broadcast around Christmas.

    Now the "reason" for this film series is that fairytale movies are still quite popular in Germany due to the TV program "Sonntagsmärchen". Every sunday afternoon a live-action fairytale movie is broadcast. The exitstance and popularity of this program makes made for TV fairytale adaptions profitable and is the reason for film series like "Märchenperlen" or the similar series "Sieben auf einen Streich".

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    1. Ooh thank you!! I had the hardest time finding information about this movie, the only German I know is from titles to popular Grimm's fairy tales! Glad that fairy tales are doing so well in Germany. It would be great if these movies were made available around the world too!

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    2. I'm nt sure if there would be a big market for it, but fairytale fans would appreciate it, I'm sure. Personlly I'm not a big fan of the "Sieben auf einen Streich" series", in my opinion thetales get modernized a little too much, "Märchenperlen" has its charm though.

      Other than germn productions there are also plenty of fairytale movies from countries of the former eastern blockfrom the 60s to early 90s that are part of the Sonntagsmärchen run. Some of them are available in an english dub or with english subtitles, so you might want to check them out. Not all are good, but The Salt Prince is great for example, as is Three Gifts for Cinderella.

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  4. Just a heads up that the link on your site is no longer active. Here's another link that goes to the full movie. There aren't any subtitles.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpXOCH5OmSI

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    1. Thanks for letting me know, I've updated the post!

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  5. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here. Thank you so much. Keep up the good works.
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  6. I found that this movie was really interesting and more realistic that disney's. I considered this movie as one of the best "Beauty and The Beast" version. Elsa (the beauty) initially had a feeling for the knight and one of the reasons she left the beast castle was to be the lady of tournament for the knight. The heroin pictured in this movie not the soft and gentle lady like was pictured in disney. She is firm, brave and full of prejudice of the beast. She even slapped the beast for saving her life and said she would rather died than stay alive to live with the creature. To see how the beast finally won her heart, you really need to watch this movie. For those who want to watch the full movie with english subtitles, can visit www.kidsmoviez.com. You can find other fairy tale movies as well on the website.

    http://www.kidsmoviez.com/2015/02/beauty-and-beast.html

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    1. I agree, it's a very good retelling-classic but at the same time unique. Thanks for the link!

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  7. Yes the one of the best version I really love it

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  8. I've just finished watching the film and I enjoyed it a lot. The castle is simple compared to the Disney version. Still I really liked the main characters, they did well with their parts. Elsa is feisty, much more than the Disney version. Beast pulled a lot of my heartstrings, and is also super hot even in his beastly form LOL though his voice is not as deep as I had expected :) Cherie

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