Fairy Tales: Unmissable films in January


Fairy Tales Cinema: Truth, Power and Enchantment’ continues to expand our ideas about fairy tales this month with free screenings on Fridays and Sundays.

Screening this week & upcoming

January brings together a selection of films which reflect the far reach of fairy tales. Adapting to different contexts, fairy tales such as ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and the ‘Arabian Nights’ find new resonance in settings such as the Australian outback and a prison in Côte d’Ivoire. Meanwhile directors such as Guy Maddin, Rob Reiner, and Aleksandre Koberidze reconfigure familiar fairy-tale elements to create new stories which range from wild pastiche to a comforting rediscovery of wonder in the everyday.

Fairy Tales Cinema’ is presented in conjunction with Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art’s (GOMA) blockbuster summer exhibition ‘Fairy Tales’. ‘Fairy Tales’ unfolds across three themed chapters. ‘Into the Woods’ which explores the conventions and characters of traditional fairy tales alongside their contemporary retellings. ‘Through the Looking Glass’ presents newer tales of parallel worlds that are filled with unexpected ideas and paths. ‘Ever After’ brings together classic and current tales to celebrate aspirations, challenge convention and forge new directions.

Travel with us in our weekly series through each room and theme of the ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition as we introduce you to some of the works while curator Sophie Hopmeier picks five of her unmissable films each month during the program… Here are five films screening in January you won’t want to miss.

RELATED: Journey through the ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition with our weekly series

Night of the Kings (2020) M

Set in ‘La Maca’, a prison deep in the forest of Côte d’Ivoire, where the prisoners rule, a new inmate must survive the night of the red moon by becoming the new ‘Roman’ or storyteller and enthralling his fellow prisoners until dawn. Drawing on the figure of Scheherazade from ‘Arabian Nights’ as well as West African griot traditions, Night of the Kings effortlessly blends social commentary with folktale.

6.00pm, Friday 5 January 2024

Production still from Night of the Kings 2020 / Director: Philippe Lacôte / Image courtesy: Rialto Distribution

Careful (1992) M

In a fictional mountain town, wary villagers live in fear of avalanches triggered by the slightest noise, or even strong emotions. In this landscape infused with repression and rules, oedipal frenzies simmer just below the surface. An early masterwork by Guy Maddin, Careful is a rampant and hilarious melodrama, which reflects both the power and pitfalls of cautionary morality.

8.00pm, Friday 12 January 2024
Careful will screen from an imported 35mm print

Production still from Careful 1992 / Director: Guy Maddin / Image courtesy: Guy Maddin

The Princess Bride (1987) PG

This beloved fairy-tale pastiche tells the swashbuckling tale of the farmhand Westley (Cary Elwes) and the princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) who must triumph over giant rodents and a murderous prince with the help of three unlikely kidnappers. Adapted for the screen by William Goldman, the story is framed by a grandfather’s tale read to his sick grandson. This family favourite is sure to delight on the big screen.

8.15pm, Friday 19 January 2024
The Princess Bride will screen from a 35mm print

Production still from The Princess Bride 1987 / Director: Rob Reiner / Image courtesy: Roadshow Entertainment

What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (2021) G

In the town of Kutaisi, Lisa (Ani Karseladze and Oliko Barbakadze) and Giorgi (Giorgi Ambroladze and Giorgi Bochorishvili) fall in love at first sight in a chance encounter, but are thwarted by a curse, which magically transforms their appearance, so they cannot recognise each other. This dreamlike contemporary Georgian fairy tale is a gentle and heart-warming reflection on love, and the possibility of magic in the present day.

2.30pm, Sunday 21 January 2024

Production still from What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 2021 / Director: Aleksandre Koberidze / Image courtesy: Static Vision

Walkabout (1971) M

In his hypnotic and scorching masterpiece Walkabout Nicolas Roeg transposes the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ theme of child abandonment to the outback, highlighting colonial anxieties about the Australian landscape, and the cruelty of Indigenous dispossession under the settler state. Following two children (Jenny Agutter and Luc Roeg) who are abandoned by their father in the desert and are helped by an Indigenous youth (David Gulpilil) on his initiatory walkabout, the film’s provocative beauty and horror still prompts meditation on the injustices of contemporary Australian society today.

3.00pm, Friday 26 January 2024
Walkabout will screen from an archival 35mm print.

Production still from Walkabout 1971 / Director: Nicolas Roeg / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment

View the full program (2 Dec 2023 – 28 Apr 2024)

Alice 1988
Alice in Wonderland 2010
Barbe bleue 2009
Beauty and the Beast 2017
Blancanieves 2012
Blaze 2022
Border 2018
Careful 1992
Cinderella 2015
Cinderella Moon 2010
Claire 2001 Live Music & Film / 11.00am, Sunday 3 March 2024 | Tickets on sale now 
Crumbs 2015
Donkey Skin 1970
Dreams 1990
Häxan 1922 Live Music & Film / 6.30pm, Friday 5 April 2024 | Tickets on sale now
Kummatty 1979
La Belle et la Bête 1946
Labyrinth 1986
Mirror Mirror 2012
Night of the Kings 2020
Pan’s Labyrinth 2006
Petite Maman 2021
Picnic at Hanging Rock 1975
The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha 1969
The Adventures of Prince Achmed 1926 Live Music & Film / 11.00am, Sunday 3 December 2023
The Company of Wolves 1984
The Fall 2006
The Juniper Tree 1990
The Lure 2015
The Match Factory Girl 1990
The Night of the Hunter 1955
The Princess Bride 1987
The Tale of Princess Kaguya 2013
The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga 2014
The White Reindeer 1952
The Wizard of Oz 1939
Three Thousand Years of Longing 2022
Thrilling Bloody Sword 1981
Walkabout 1971
Wanderers of the Desert 1984
What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? 2021
Where the Wild Things Are 2009
Wild at Heart 1990

The ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition is at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Australia from 2 December 2023 until 28 April 2024.

Fairy Tales Cinema: Truth, Power and Enchantment‘ presented in conjunction with GOMA’s blockbuster summer exhibition screens at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA from 2 December 2023 until 28 April 2024.

The major publication ‘Fairy Tales in Art and Film’ available at the QAGOMA Store and online explores how fairy tales have held our fascination for centuries through art and culture.

From gift ideas, treats just for you or the exhibition publication, visit the ‘Fairy Tales’ exhibition shop at GOMA or online.

‘Fairy Tales’ merchandise available at the GOMA exhibition shop or online.

The Australian Cinémathèque
The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) is the only Australian art gallery with purpose-built facilities dedicated to film and the moving image. The Australian Cinémathèque at GOMA provides an ongoing program of film and video that you’re unlikely to see elsewhere, offering a rich and diverse experience of the moving image, showcasing the work of influential filmmakers and international cinema, rare 35mm prints, recent restorations and silent films with live musical accompaniment by local musicians or on the Gallery’s Wurlitzer organ originally installed in Brisbane’s Regent Theatre in November 1929.

Dr Sophie Hopmeier is ‘Fairy Tales’ Assistant Curator and Assistant Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA