Snow White steps into the room and takes her robe off after a long day. Two dwarfs, accidentally entering the room through a magic teleporting mirror, hurriedly hide under a sofa, leering at her as she undresses herself. She goes on to take off her red heels, in an oddly erotic manner, before transforming into a…fat girl.
This was (it’s been taken down now) an officially-released teaser trailer for “Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs,” a South Korean-made feature-length animation set for release this winter.
The film, which boasts top-notch production quality and some beautifully crafted CG effects (Jin Kim, Disney’s senior design supervisor, is also on the crew) has been the object of much hype in South Korea. Backed by state support from the Korea Creative Content Agency (KCCA), the film cost around 16 billion won (14 million U.S dollars) and won the grand prize at a 2010 storytelling competition hosted by the KCCA.
“The critical approach to the original piece [Snow White and and the Seven Dwarfs], based on feminism and realism, is compelling,” the congratulatory comment from KCCA read.
I’m not so sure if “feminist” is the right description for the trailer above.
Based on the gripping tagline, “What if Snow White and the dwarfs were no longer as we knew them?”, this family comedy “carries a message designed to challenge social prejudices about standards of physical beauty,” according to Korea-based production company LOCUS.
It seems the film aims to add a positive twist to the original plot by depicting Snow White as an over-sized princess embracing her real self in the midst of a social obsession with slimness. The work emphasizes “the importance of inner beauty,” in the words of LOCUS’s official website — but the original trailer seems to send the opposite message.
A billboard featuring the original promotion at Cannes this year immediately went viral on Twitter, with many netizens branding it as abusive and body-shaming.
The producer responded by delivering a formal apology via Salon, promising to withdraw the ad campaign in question. But the controversy was reignited when netizens dug up an even more troubling teaser from the campaign.
A dwarf creeps in, takes a peek at sleeping Snow White and starts trying to take off her high heels. The slapstick comedy of the scene quickly spirals into sadism, as the dwarf resorts to using a chainsaw, then a crowbar…. Finally, he grabs her by the ankles and starts flipping her around, smashing her repeatedly against the floor.
Both videos have now officially been taken down. Sujin Hwang, a producer at LOCUS, told Korea Exposé that none of the trailers had anything to do with the actual content of the movie. “They were solely produced to induce curiosity. They’re completely irrelevant to the actual story,” she said.
Cover Image: The dwarf looks curiously at Snow White’s heels. (Source: YouTube)