The Cabbage Fairy (La Fee aux Choux)

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A staging of the fairy tale of children born from a cabbage patch and a rose garden.

Online: Internet Archive

Some historians call this one of the earliest narrative fiction films. Others say there is no narrative, and categorize it as a member of the "cinema of attractions". And a few insist that it is not fiction. In any case, there should be no disagreement that the cabbage fairy`s hourglass figure, graceful movements, and generous display of cleavage were definitely "attractions" that the French male audience would not fail to notice.

Yet who would have imagined that this one-minute fantasy would one day have an entire book devoted to it! The 2018 book La Fée Aux Choux: Alice Guy's Garden of Dreams makes the case that this film is the second of three versions, with the first (1896) now lost. But, judging from this online preview, the book is no dry dissertation choking on the indecipherable jargon of post-modern film criticism. In the clearest of terms, it first provides the justification for its in-depth investigation, then immerses readers in rich details that provide the deep context that's often needed to make sense of a work from another age, and bring it closer to home:

For Alice, looking at the babies being cared for in isolation, the irony of life and death, love and loss, families separated and reunited, could not have been far from her mind.