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Grimm Masterpiece Theatre (Nippon, 1987)




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Briar Rose on the Stairwell
Source: TV
Layers: 1
No sketches available
Cel Number: A3
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Added 1/22/2007
Updated 4/4/2017
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and ascend the stair . . .
--T. S. Eliot


Episode 18 (Briar Rose, Dornröschen, or Nemuri-hime: “Sleeping Princess”). Driven by curiosity, the young princess climbs a stone staircase that leads to a secret chamber. In the Grimms' version, she simply opens the door. But the Japanese adaptation embellishes this scene, making the staircase a twisting, surreal psychological passageway.

At one point the princess cautiously turns to go back down, but then she hears the sound of a harp, playing a mysterious melody, and so in spite of her fear she turns back to listen. Sequence number: A3.

According to many interpreters of this tale, the journey up the winding stair and the magical wounding with the spindle represents the princess’s menarche, or sexual maturity, as tokened by her first menstruation. This reading makes many readers squeamish and suspicious, but Nippon’s adapters boldly embraced the idea, as you’ll see if you screen the entire episode. Pay attention to the repeated images of bleeding associated with a flower, a deep red rose with a keen, wounding thorn -- the “Briar Rose” of the Grimms’ rough-edged tale variant.

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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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