Fascinating Clothes, Innocent Pleasures? On the Meaning of Costumes and Corporeality in Fantasy Film

1/2010

Tanja Sihvonen

The fairytale film Donkey Skin (1970) functions as a network of multidimensional meanings where spectacular costumes and their presentation occupy an important role both narratively and performatively. In this article the meanings associated with costumes are discussed in the contexts of both folk tales and cinema. Emphasis will also be placed on how the real body of an actor is being situated as a fictional character through costumes and other performance markers. Catherine Deneuve plays the part of a young, innocent princess in the film, but her character also tags along associations with her other – very different – kinds of roles. By analyzing both the narrative of the film as well as its spectacle and performative elements, I will ask on what terms such a self-conscious fantasy film can be enjoyed by its spectators.