The disconcerting world of Princess
by Fabien Lemercier
The Directors’ Fortnight will open this afternoon with the screening of the intriguing Danish film Princess [+see also:
film profile], the debut feature by Anders Morgenthaler on a topic that is anything but conventional.
This much awaited and unusual film – 80% of which is animation and 20% live action (shot essentially in video) – left viewers in an advance state of stupefaction, their fascination provoked by the director’s visual world being counterbalanced by the film’s oddity, intrigue and philosophy.
Set against the backdrop of the porn industry, the film features a five year-old child who grows up in and is disturbed by this environment, several (very skilfully directed) scenes of bloody violence and a vengeance-seeking priest reminiscent of Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver.
Princess also has several upsetting themes that are treated almost like in a family drama, as well socio-economic problems and destructive comedy. This explosive mix, co-written by the director and Mette Heeno, does have some poetic moments (in the characters’ dreams) and paints quite an accurate picture of the complex relationship between adults and children. All this in a grey and concrete urban setting traversed by a metro.
Using a very innovative graphic style with Japanese influences, Morgenthaler’s work is a hard-hitting denunciation of the sex industry. Recordings of deceased porno star Princess are worth €25m, which leads to trouble, and the motivation behind her brother’s revenge – a hopeless darkness where only death seems to bring peace. This ultimately produces an animation film aimed at adults where children are only toys in a world that has not pity for innocence.
Produced by Zentropa and co-produced by German outfit Shotgun Pictures, Princess received funding from the Danish Film Institute via Danish Screen, for a total budget of €1.2m. International sales are being handled by Trust Film Sales.
(Translated from French)
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