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Femme Filmmakers Festival Review: Snow White Cologne – Amanda Eliasson

Snow White Cologne is a visual animated poem created using acrylic paint on paper, it not like anything you have ever seen before. Beautiful and moving in a simple but effective way. The film is a reflection on the struggle of a young girl’s drug addiction. Throughout the 6 minute visual journey we see a young woman fall in love, and become drawn into a dangerous world.

To say that this film is an emotional journey is an understatement, the film absorbs you in and invites you to explore a world that many chose to ignore. Rather than be in bleak, muted colours, Snow White Cologne bursts from the screen in vivid reds, blues, and greens. It could have been easy to resort to drab colours but the film’s director embraces colour and isn’t afraid to use it. With over 3,000 frames, it is clear that this is a work of passion and a form of therapy for the young director.

Based on a true, personal story (the director’s younger sister was addicted to drugs). The film was submitted for this year’s Femme Filmmakers Festival by director Amanda Eliasson, and as her graduation film for the Royal College of Art. Snow White Cologne, explores the painful reality of drug abuse and the difficult recovery process that might follow. With its psychedelic frames and bold, vivid images, this animated delight gives the viewer an honest insight into the true harrowing nature of addiction. It is obvious that Eliasson is passionate about art and animation, we can see the amount of dedication and hard work that she has put into this piece.

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It is clear that Snow White Cologne is a way for Eliasson to relieve herself of tension and pain, we can tell this from the poetic voice over narration delivered by the director herself. We open with the words ”You didn’t know where you were going” this is clearly directed at her sister, but it could be applied to most of us, lost in this world without a sense of direction.

The images of colours (greens, yellows, pinks) create this innocent vision of the world, perhaps indicating how her sister was once innocent and naive in this world. According to Eliasson, she made a conscious decision not to make the narration autobiographical or in first person, as she has stated in an interview ” it’s written by me from a third person perspective, imagining how my sister was thinking and feeling as the facts unfolded.”

As Eliasson has stated, that ”the story is written as a poem, using an experimental cut-up technique inspired by William S Burroughs. The poetry allowed me to work with metaphors like the butterflies that symbolise drugs and the underwater world that symbolises an altered state of mind”. In her director’s statement Eliasson was very open about her aim for the film, stating that ”I wanted to tell her [Amanda’s sister] story in a non judgemental way, which is why the film tackles the difficult subject ‘drug addiction’ in a poetic and emotional manner rather than giving the viewer straight facts about the problems of the disease.”

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In regards to the peculiar clash of colours, Eliasson has stated that she likes ”ugly things like clashing colours. I decided to pick all the colours that I liked without caring if they’d fit well together or not. As Snow White Cologne explores reality vs an altered state of mind, it allowed me to play with a very bright, trippy palette as opposed to the more subdued colours of the real world.” This vivid clash helps makes Snow White Cologne such a unique film with a long-lasting impression, because it’s not like anything you have seen before. The film is a very personal piece, which I am delighted Eliasson has chosen to share with us.

Look out for the Amanda Eliasson interview on the final day of the festival. And here is Snow White Cologne:

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