CFP: [Film] Cinematic Folklore and Fairy Tale Film

full name / name of organization: 
ioanna Kostaki

 Fairy tales’ characteristic to be transformed staying in the same time
recognizable. The example of “Azur et Asmar”: a modern children’s tale
film that has been influenced by the “Arabian nights”.

As it is known, fairy tales, just like myths (for example ancient Greek
myths) and classic children’s books, have the characteristic to be
recognizable by people of different place, age and social status. The
most people know the story of Cinderella or the story of the three little
pigs, even though they have never read it. Almost all of us know what
happens with Pinocchio’s nose when he tells lies and it is easy to
understand the reasons an advertisement uses this motive. This aptitude
of fairy tales gives them the opportunity to be transformed into
different works of art or textual adaptations without loosing their
characteristics. Another characteristic of fairy tales is that of
absorption. Fairy tales can be used by the author on a particular way to
describe the contemporary world and its problems. In other words, fairy
tales make up a “special code”, which people of different cultures can
use to communicate and decode the messages that daily receive by the
media, literature, cinema and any other work of art.

This study goes into the role of fairy tales’ characteristics that have
been described above in the children’s film “Azur et Asmar”. “Azur et
Asmar” is a French production’s digital animated film. It narrates the
story of two boys, a French (Azur) and an Asian (Asmar), who have grown
together in France by Asmar’s mother, an Asian emigrant. This woman loves
Azur as he was her real child and every night narrates them the tale of
the “Fairy of genies” who is captured in a dark cave in “the country of
the other side of sea” and waits for a brave man to release her. Each
child dreams to rescue the Fairy and get married to her. But one day
Azur’s father throw away Asmar and his mother and separate the two boys.
Long time ago Azur hasn’t forgotten his nanny’s tale and still wants to
travel to the “Country of the other side of sea” and find the Fairy. So
when he becomes a young boy he decides to make this trip but because of a
storm his ship was wrecked off an unknown coast. Azur finds himself in a
land with black habitants who speak an ununderstandable language. When
they see him they go away because of his blue eyes. Their language
reminds him his nanny’s language and afterwards he learns that he is
in “the country of the other side of the sea”. He finds his nanny again
and he asks her to help him find the fairy. The two boys are preparing
for the trip under the help of her, the princess of Asia and a wise man.
After adventures and many dangerous obstacles they finally achieve their
goal. But only one can get married to the Fairy. The Fairy gives the
solution so that all are happy.
The setting of the film makes reference to the “Arabian nights”. The plot
and the narrative too are obviously influenced by “Aladdin”, “Ali baba
and the 40 thieves” and other Arabian fairy tales. The film is a
contemporary fairy tale that talks about multiculturalism, racism and
solidarity between the people by using the diachronic material of classic
fairy tales. Its content and form are far away from the Disney’s movies
and offer an alternative choice in films for children.
Thank you in advance for your answer.

Kostaki Ioanna, Theotokopoulou 31, 72100, Crete, Greece
E- Mail:
Nationality: Hellenic
Date of Birth: 22/05/1982
Professional qualifications: Philosophy and Pedagogic (2000-2005)
                                   Postgraduate Student at the Aegean
University: “Children’s book
and pedagogical material”

Profession: Teacher of Greek language
Mother Tongue: Greek
Other languages: English, German

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Received on Wed Dec 26 2007 - 08:26:31 EST