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Tribeca 2019: "White as Snow"

Jason Adams reporting from the Tribeca Film Festival one last time...

The sins of the flesh have always been right there on the surface of Fairy Tales, waiting to be ravaged by sex and by violence, by finger and by claw. Crooked old ladies morph into comely lasses, and ripe red lips are ready to be plucked and plundered. Snow White didn't move in with seven little dudes by mistake -- whatever our imaginations can imagine, whatever wishes our hearts can make, they're all within reach for a price, endless sleep and poisoned apples. Anne Fontaine's White as Snow is just the latest in a long string of movies soft-coring up our princess fantasies...

This time our leading lady Claire (Lou de Laage, lithe as a ribbon) is given the 21st century gift of self-determination -- Claire falls under an erotic spell of her own making, like Cinderella and her fairy godmother wrapped up in a single sapphic embrace.

That big slipper energy will come in handy when her sinister stepmother Maud (a cooly detached, constantly smirking Isabelle Huppert) comes a'calling. Claire, on the run from unknown to her assassins, makes a quick home for herself in a magical forest town astride the Alps, summarily boinking her way through the town's every man -- once Maud shows up with her head-scarves and dripping syringes, well, even the squirrels start going nutty. There's something in the air, and biology aside it's so thick you might get pregnant if you breathe too deep. 

Sadly White as Snow never really coheres into anything of substance -- it's goofy as get-out but never quite to the levels of camp one might wish, try though Huppert may. She is, as ever, a force of sly nature on-screen, a threat taken human woman form. Fontaine keeps bringing the film back from those places though, straightening out the folds of her film's excesses against its own wooly, wily wants. It's good for a laugh, for a slight sex-comedy, but this princess parries when she should thrust deep.

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