Stories about women in entertainment dominated the 2017 Cannes Film Festival news cycle, as Sofia Coppola became the second woman to win the award for best director, and jury member Jessica Chastain spoke out about the “disturbing” depictions of women in cinema.
Chastain’s choice of adjective could certainly apply to the marketing campaign for an upcoming animated film that many spotted at the festival.
Journalists at Cannes tweeted photos of a billboard for “Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs” ― a Snow White parody that will reportedly star Chloe Grace Moretz.
The ad shows the tall, thin heroine wearing red high-heeled shoes next to a shorter, heavier version of herself ― barefoot and holding the shoes.
“What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 Dwarfs not so short?” the tagline asks.
The suggestion that a shorter, rounder Snow White is “no longer beautiful” attracted the ire of many parents with young kids.
On Tuesday, model and mom of two Tess Holliday tweeted a photo of the billboard at Moretz. “How did this get approved by an entire marketing team?” she wrote. “Why is it okay to tell young kids being fat = ugly?”
Many people shared their outrage in HuffPost Parents’ “So You Want To Raise A Feminist” Facebook group. Several parents noted that they would not be showing the film to their children.
“Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs” is a product of South Korea’s Locus Creative Studios. The company’s website describes it as a family-friendly film and outlines the plot: “After seven handsome princes are magically transformed into seven ugly dwarfs, they set out on a quest to break the curse by getting a kiss from the most beautiful princess in all the land.” According to IMDB, the movie is “a parody with a twist.”
While Snow White is a German fairy tale famously published by the Brothers Grimm, the “Red Shoes” in the working title is likely a reference to Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Red Shoes” ― which tells the story of a girl with enchanted red shoes (though the magical shoes in that fairy tale have a slightly more sinister effect than simply making one’s appearance conform to societal standards of beauty).
The Lotus website suggests the movie has a slightly more empowering message ― apparently the princess character is on a journey to find her lost father and learns “not only to accept herself, but to celebrate who she is, inside and out. And to let the beauty within ... shine brighter than anyone else in the land.”
Still, the decision to describe the “normal” Snow White as ugly in the marketing campaign is questionable at best. The “family-friendly” designation is also questionable, as early trailers for “Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs” don’t seem particularly appropriate for children. One trailer shows two male dwarf characters secretly watching the heroine undress, while another shows a dwarf looking lustfully at her sleeping figure and then proceeding to violently thrash her body around in an attempt to remove her shoes.
“Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs” was previously scheduled for a summer 2017 release. Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Moretz was set to add her voice to the movie and that South Korean sales company Finecut would be introducing the film to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival.
The current status of the film is not entirely clear, though the billboard at Cannes states “2018 Coming Soon.”
Locus Creative Studios did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Locus Corporation issued a statement to HuffPost.
“As the producer of the theatrical animated film ‘Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs,’ now in production, Locus Corporation wishes to apologize regarding the first elements of our marketing campaign (in the form of a Cannes billboard and a trailer) which we realize has had the opposite effect from that which was intended. That advertising campaign is being terminated.
Our film, a family comedy, carries a message designed to challenge social prejudices related to standards of physical beauty in society by emphasizing the importance of inner beauty. We appreciate and are grateful for the constructive criticism of those who brought this to our attention. We sincerely regret any embarrassment or dissatisfaction this mistaken advertising has caused to any of the individual artists or companies involved with the production or future distribution of our film, none of whom had any involvement with creating or approving the now discontinued advertising campaign.”