“Hansel and Gretel” Films: Crimes, Harms, and Children Cover Image

“Hansel and Gretel” Films: Crimes, Harms, and Children
“Hansel and Gretel” Films: Crimes, Harms, and Children

Author(s): Pauline Greenhill, Steven Kohm
Subject(s): Anthropology, Social Sciences, Language and Literature Studies, Fine Arts / Performing Arts, Customs / Folklore, Studies of Literature, Sociology, German Literature, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Criminology, Film / Cinema / Cinematography, Philology
Published by: Wydział Polonistyki Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: crimes; cultural criminology; fairy tale films; Hansel and Gretel; harms; This Very Moment; Treeless Mountain; The Last Butterfly; The Night of the Hunter; Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?

Summary/Abstract: A brutal narrative of child abandonment, murder, and cannibalism may not seem the conventional stuff of fairy tales to those trained for a Disney-eyed view. Yet that is exactly what “Hansel and Gretel” offers. Film versions across genres, including drama, noir, horror, slasher, thriller, comedy, and adventure, deal seriously with crimes against and harms to children. Many practices and behaviours that endanger and damage people of various ages in all kinds of contexts, including environmental degradation, economic exploitation, and many forms of discrimination, are not proscribed in the formal criminal justice system, and/or are beyond the jurisdiction of public institutions. Many actions and inactions that affect and/or pertain to children’s wellbeing are found as recurring themes and ideas in “Hansel and Gretel” films. In this paper, the authors focus on non-supernatural, live-action films available in English for adult viewers that include child main characters, that is, those whose Hansels and Gretels are clearly below the age of puberty. These films, the authors contend, offer distinctive perspectives on harms to children as individuals and as groups, especially with relation to institutions implicating justice.

  • Issue Year: 2/2020
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 11-34
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: English