March 5, 2012- S.Barton
Cinderella Moon, directed by Richard Bowen made its US premiere at New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF). The film is based on the earliest known version of Cinderella, the Chinese tale, Ye Xian from 768 AD. They’re several versions of Cinderella that exist around the world.
The most famous version of Cinderella is The Little Glass Slipper, written in 1697, by French author Charles Perrault. Perrault is known for The Tales of Mother Goose (Les Contes de ma Mère l’Oye), which include: Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, and Sleeping Beauty. His works laid the foundation for the modern fairytale genre. The Little Glass Slipper, possess a magically, “Je nes sais quoi.” The invention of the fairy godmother, pumpkin carriage and glass slippers; is what sets it apart from the rest.
Cinderella Moon is a shot in beautiful the Southwest Yunnan province. It’s the story of Mei Mei, an intelligent woman and gifted potter, who refuses to give in the chauvinistic world around her. Unfortunately, her life is a tragic sonnet. At age 5, Mei Mei’s mother dies in childbirth. The kingdom is plagued by famine; forcing her step-mother to make tough decisions to assure the families survival. Mei Mei’s life is thrown into further turmoil when her father dies. The situation turns drastic when the moon becomes stuck in the sky. The kingdom is out of balance, unless celestial harmony is restored, the world will end.
Richard Bowen cleverly crafted this fairytale into a smart contemporary think piece on modern gender issues. This is just the surface. Bowen pushes the envelope by examining questions that we as human being spend a lifetime trying to answer: Where is my place in the world? What is my purpose? Who am I meant to be?
It’s a film about finding your place in the world by being yourself. Mei Mei is told that by being true to herself, she’ll find her place in the world and also help restore balance to the kingdom. It’s simple, but also impossible- the movie’s unofficial theme. Cinderella Moon is a masterpiece, it possesses a depth and richness, unlike its predecessors. Like Charles Perrault, Richard Bowen has laid the foundation for a new fairytale film genre.