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Friday Film Staff Pick: Sleeping Betty

Sleeping Betty, Claude Cloutier, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

This is a guest post from Kate Ruscito, a beloved member of the web team.

I don’t know about you, but on Friday, after a long workweek, I’m exhausted. Thankfully, I’m at least functional, which is more than I can say for Isabelle in Claude Cloutier’s Sleeping Betty.

Everyone who’s ever grown up on Disney knows the story of Sleeping Beauty. Riffing on something so well known is a challenge in and of itself, but Cloutier took a beloved tale and cleverly modernized it for the contemporary, hectic world. Instead of fairies, musical interludes with animals, and poisoned spinning wheels, Isabelle lives in a kingdom where Princes are on the clock, taxis are horse-drawn, and wicked witches moonlight as maids to make ends meet.

Above all else, Isabelle au bois dormant is funny. Cloutier’s well versed in the absurd and uses it to make beautiful films. He has no problems mixing mythical creatures with extraterrestrials, or creating uniquely Canadian hybrids (moose dragons, expect them to trend soon), or spoofing royalty and classical art. Isabelle lives in a place where old and new clash, and they clash amazingly.

Like all fairytales, the story only really begins once the princess is asleep. Unlike all fairytales, a kiss from a handsome prince does nothing to wake Isabelle up. That’s what she has an alarm clock for.