A Little Princess (Cuaron, 1995)

A charming if not overly simple children’s fable, A Little Princess marks the English language debut of the brilliant Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron. The tale of a young British girl named Sara attending a girl’s school in New York during WWI combines a unique sense of dream-scape imagery with Hindi mysticism, both acting to offset the doubts and inadequacies of the Western Adult world. When Sara’s Officer father goes MIA in Europe, her holdings mysteriously disappear, subsequently forcing her to shift from student to maid. She must overcome the pressures of class structure to remind those around her why she remains such a special little girl. Moments of the brilliant mise-en-scene displayed in Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men can be found, most beautifully in the layered landscapes of turn of the century NYC. One can see the makings of a kindred and hopeful spirit and a devout lover of cinema in A Little Princess, both essential qualities Alfonso Curaron has taken to new heights with his later films.


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