Director: Cem Arslan I Runtime: 23 min I Country: Germany
Fantasy meets politics in a topical and invigorating tale
All is not well in the land of folklore. Bounded by an oath to serve as figments of various storytellers' imagination, some of the fairy tale residents have had enough. There is a revolt brewing, fuelled by the longing for previously uncharted territories of the human world and the very essence of stories is being threatened in Cem Arslan's Märchenland (translation: Fairy Tale Land).
In a breezy and incredibly well paced film, Director and Writer Cem Arslan tackles numerous complex socio-political concepts without every losing the grip on what makes fairy tales inherently likeable, i.e, the innocent suspension of disbelief. This is fairy tale land after all and from Rapunzel to Snow White to The Huntsmen we meet them all. Even the Grimm brothers show up in a hilarious cameo. None of these beloved characters from your childhood are quite as you remember them though. Rapunzel no longer bothers about her hair, The Huntsman doesn't know what to hunt, Snow White's priorities have no place for any dwarves and the Big Bad Wolf is not big or bad anymore. Quite simply, they've had enough and no longer want to exist merely for your enjoyment in the land of stories. They want to discover new vistas and find their own meaning.
This, in turn, causes all sorts of chaos in Fairy Tale Land. The King and Queen don't know what to do and even the original keeper of stories, Dorothea Viehmann finds the situation escalating beyond control as she tries to reason with the residents.
Märchenland is a charming and thought provoking film that delves deeper into the cathartic nature of storytelling perhaps last experienced by yours truly in Bill Willingham's excellent comic book series, Fables. Through some highly effective production and costume design, excellent writing and an especially impactful performance by Dorothe Romer as Dorothea Viehmann, it fills your heart with the kind of childlike joy that once upon a time, good old fashioned stories used to offer.
Märchenland is currently playing in select film festivals worldwide.