Also known as Frau Holle and as Perinbaba — the title under which it received its North American premier at the 1986 Vancouver In-ternational Film Festival — The Feather Fairy is Jakubisko’s imaginative and enchanting reworking of the Brothers Grimm Story — and one of the cinema’s most ambitious and successful live-action fairy tales. Fellini’s wife and star Giulietta Masina is featured in the title role as the fairy godmother who one day takes pity on young Jakob, a circus boy, and saves him from a certain death in an avalanche. Frau Holle brings the lad to her magical kingdom, where she installs him as a kind of assitant, but Jakob is soon temted to rejoin the mortal world — and to risk once again the clutches of Death — by his sympathy for Elisabeth, a young girl suffering under a cruel stepmother and two evil sisters. Every frame of this fanciful, much-beloved film is deliciously, breathtakingly seductive; The Feather Fairy offers abundant evidence of Jakubisko’s extraordinary talent for mixing the naturalistic with the poetic, and of the Czechoslovak cinema’s much celebrated facility for le fantastique.
The Czechoslovak cinema is noted for its expertise in making live-action fairy tales. This one, Juraj Jakubisko’s “Frau Holle” deals with a kind of granny type who governs the passing of the seasons from her perch on high. During one natural catastrophe - an avalanche of snow buries a circus caravan - Frau Holle takes pity on a youngster named Jakob and brings him into her enchanted world as a kind of assistant.
One day, Jakob sights below on Earth a young girl named Elisabeth, who must suffer under a cruel stepmother and two evil and jealous sisters. So the daring youngster decides to leave the world of immortality for the time being to become a mortal once again in order to right the wrongs on Elisabeth. Death - in the form of an old hag - now sees the chance to recapture her lost prey. Frau Holle, however, keeps a casual eye on her errant ward and steps in to save Jakob and Elisabeth from any unnecessary evil.
Giulietta Masina as Frau Holle makes for a charming fairy godmother. Production credits in general are also topgrade.
Pic was made for tv, where it will find its proper audience.