Monday, December 27, 2010

ever after : a cinderella story

hi all. in this entry, i wanna share about a film, inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella.

The movie begins with the Grimm Brothers visiting an elderly woman, the Grande Dame of France, who while thoroughly enjoying their tales questions their story of the little cinder girl. The Grimm Brothers reply that there was no way for them to verify the authenticity of their story as there were so many different versions. After one of the brothers expressed curiosity about a portrait showing a young woman, the Grande Dame replies that the woman was Danielle de Barbarac , reveals a jewel-encrusted glass slipper, and proceeds to tell her story - beginning with "Once upon a time..."
In 16th century France, Danielle de Barbarac's father, Auguste, marries a baroness with two young daughters, but dies shortly afterward. The Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent was already jealous and resentful of Danielle, and ensures her life is miserable. By the time Danielle is eighteen, the estate has fallen into decline, as the Baroness has no interest in farming and wishes to get back to court as soon as possible. The elder daughter Marguerite has grown to be as cruel and arrogant as her mother, who favors her for her cunning and calculating personality. The younger daughter, Jacqueline, neglected by her mother, is sweet-tempered and forgiving but powerless. Danielle has been reduced to a servant in her own house; she sleeps near the kitchen fireplace and her most prized and virtually only possession is the last present her father gave her, a paperback copy of Thomas more's Utopia.
While collecting apples, Danielle hears the thunder of hooves, and runs to find a strange man attempting to steal her father's horse. Enraged, she calls him a thief, and proceeds to throw an apple and hit him squarely on the forehead. The man, stumbling and bleeding slightly from the apple's blow, is revealed to be the local Prince. Danielle falls to the ground in a low bow, embarrassed, and fearing for her life because of her rash action. The Prince, Henry, hurredly explains that he was stealing her horse to flee from the royal guard and escape his 'gilded cage'. He takes the horse and pays her 20 gold francs for her silence on the matter. Astonished by the amount of money, Danielle hides the gold from her step-mother and conceives of a plan to rescue one of the maidservant's husbands, and long time servant friend, Maurice.
Prince Henry, who continues to run and elude the castle guards that pursue him, comes across a small caravan of gypsies who are sacking an old man's carriage. The man wails and flags down Henry, claiming that one of the gypsies has stolen his painting. Henry pauses for a moment, and nervously recognizes that the guards are hot on his trail. He tries to shake off the man and race away, but the elderly fellow claims that "it's a matter of life and death." Henry grudgingly agrees to chase the bandits, and after an elaborate flight and fight, recovers the painting. Henry returns the prized painting (later shown to be the Mona Lisa) to the elderly man, who reveals himself to be Leonardo da Vinci, the famed painter who is paying a visit to the King and Queen (Henry's parents). Sadly, the castle guards catch up with the Prince, and he is escorted back to the castle followed by Da Vinci.
Meanwhile, deciding to dress in disguise and use her mother's name - Comtesse Nicole de Lancret - Danielle goes to the royal prison to buy back Maurice, and save him from being sent to the New World Colonies, since he had been sold by the Baroness because of her past due taxes. After meeting Prince Henry  during an argument with the prison guard, (luckily he does not recognize her as the commoner who threw the apples at him previously) he is impressed with her forthrightness and strong personality. They have a series of secretive encounters, with Henry becoming intrigued with her wit and intelligence but is unaware of her true identity as well as the fact that it is her stepmother and stepsister that are openly trying to court his favour for marriage. Unbeknown to Danielle, Henry feels just as trapped by circumstance as she does: his only real companion being Laurent, captain of the royal guard, with many courtiers and nobles wooing him in exchange for favours because of his position, not his personal identity. With some aid from a traveling Leonardo da Vinci, who is in fact on his way to the palace, Henry is able to find the confidence to act naturally with Danielle.
After much deliberation The King and Queen of France give their son an ultimatum: either he announce his engagement to a woman of his choosing at the upcoming masquerade ball, or he will wed the Princess of Spain. Thinking of Danielle, Henry agrees. Danielle, her stepmother, and stepsisters all receive invitations to the ball. Marguerite is unsatisfied with any of the dresses to wear to the ball, so Rodmilla pulls out Danielle's mother's dress and the matching slippers that were to be given to Danielle when she got married. Marguerite immediately likes it, and decides to wear it to the masque. When Danielle catches Marguerite trying on the dress, Marguerite makes a callous comment about Danielle's mother being dead and having no use for the fine vestments. Danielle, infuriated, punches her in the face and chases her around the manor, but Marguerite retaliates by seizing and threatening to burn Danielle's copy of Utopia. Although Danielle gives in and allows Marguerite to take the dress and the glass shoes which come with it, Marguerite, out of simple spite, burns the book anyway. Under orders from her stepmother, Danielle is beaten and whipped. Jacqueline attempts to comfort her and heal her wounds.
Danielle, deciding that she must tell the Prince the truth about her commoner status, finds him in the forest and attempts to tell him the truth. Henry, now love-sick, fails to hear what she says and pours his heart out to her, claiming that he loves her. Danielle is on the verge of tears, knowing that their love cannot last. The couple kiss, and Henry moves to pull Danielle into an embrace, but she cries out in pain, as he has pressed against the deep lash-marks upon her back. Danielle makes a quick exit, and bids him farewell.
On the evening of the ball, Danielle's stepmother discovers the interludes between Danielle and Henry, and locks her in the manor's larder as punishment. Leonardo da Vinci, who figured out from the first meeting between Henry and Danielle she was not a noble, frees her and the manor's servants give her the dress and slippers, which they had hidden. Danielle goes to the ball, where her stepmother humiliates her by exposing her true identity. Henry publicly rejects Danielle, labelling her a hypocrite like everyone else around him. Devastated she runs away, leaving one slipper behind which is discovered by Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo reprimands Henry for abandoning Danielle when she had risked everything for him.
Danielle is sold to a vile landowner, Pierre Le Pieu , in exchange for all the missing household goods, that Rodmilla had accused Danielle and the servants of stealing but in reality had been sold to him to pay off the debt. Henry is about to go through with his arranged marriage to the Spanish princess, who is so distraught she comes to the altar sobbing. Realizing that he could not in good conscience marry someone so obviously unhappy with the arrangement - just as he is - Henry calls off the wedding in mid-ceremony, encouraging her to be with her true love, another Spanish nobleman attending the wedding. He leaves the church with renewed resolve and encounters Jacqueline, who tells him Danielle is the prisoner of Le Pieu. As Henry sets off to save her, Danielle is shown to be Le Pieu's house servant in shackles; he tries to make a sexual advance towards her, but instead finds himself held by Danielle at sword-point, and gives her the literal key to her freedom. She walks out of the castle just as Henry arrives. He begs for her forgiveness and using her real name asks for her hand in marriage, presenting to her the slipper she left on the night of the ball.
The Baroness and her daughters are summoned to visit the royal court, assuming that Henry plans to propose to Marguerite based on a lie Jacqueline tells them. Instead, they are told that they are guilty of treason for lying to the Queen about Danielle's identity and marital status among other things-an offense punishable by death. Upon hearing this, Margurite tries to cover up her part in her mother's schemes by pinning the whole blame on Rodmilla, leading to a argument between them that is soon stopped by the King. It's then that Jacqueline reveals her deception to her mother and sister. The Queen then strips the Baroness and Marguerite of their titles and tells them that they will be deported to the colonies, unless someone asks for mercy on their behalf. When no one speaks up for her, Rodmilla realizes just how alone she truly is. Danielle, whom Henry introduces as his wife, steps forward to ask the King and Queen to be as kind to her stepmother and stepsister as they were to her. Rodmilla and Marguerite are sent to work in the royal laundry for the rest of their days. Jacqueline, who had always been kind to Danielle, is spared punishment. She falls in love with Captain Laurent, whom she met at the ball. As the story ends, the elderly lady reveals to the Brothers Grimm that she is Danielle's great-great-granddaughter, and still has her glass slipper and Da Vinci's portrait, leaving the Brothers Grimm with the real lesson of the fairy tale - not merely that they lived happily ever after, but that they really did live and the story is true.

info: - a 1998 film
       - directed by Andy Tennant
source :

p/s : there is no fairy godmother in this movie  c(=

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