Documentary Video 94:00 2002 Iceland
Hronn Sveinsdottir, a feisty young filmmaker from Reykjavik, Iceland surprises both family and friends by taking part in the Miss Iceland beauty pageant. Set in the year 2000 – the year of the dragon – this millennium pageant was to be different, independence, ambition and wits were to be celebrated above the more superficial standards set by traditional beauty pageants. Were the organizers of the pageant sincere or was this just promotional spin? This is what Hronn set out to discover.
This unusual and highly personal film documents a young woman’s struggle with image and identity as she enters a world of catwalks, fat diagnostics, and beauty politics, a world that threatens not only to encompass her, but also her family, as they become obsessed by beauty and all its trappings.
Due to the legal efforts of the pageant owners, this film became the first Icelandic film ever to be banned. Initial release was delayed over six months and two lawsuits before it finally premiered to a successful two month run. At the annual Eddas, the Icelandic official awards of film and television, it won the “Best Documentary” prize.
It is rare to find a person willing to expose to the world that part of him or herself that they deplore. It is in these situations that a person usually either comes to hide the implicit relationship she shares with that which she is exposing, or comes to embrace the topic rather than expose it. And yet, Hronn’s ability to expose the absurdity of the “new and improved” Miss Iceland 2000 competition- without removing herself from the development of this absurdity- is exactly what makes IN THE SHOES OF THE DRAGON such a wonderfully entertaining and politically provocative documentary.
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