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DVDs I think you should own #12 – Princess


The Danes are famed for many things, bacon and lego among them, but animation is not something often associated with the nation of Denmark. On the strength of this film, this is an absolute tragedy. Coming off like a cross between Get Carter and Leon, it’s the story of a little girl, Mia who ends up in the care of her Uncle August (a clergyman recently returned from missionary work abroad) when her porno superstar mother “Princess” (Christina) dies of a drug overdose. Twisted by rage and guilt, August sets out to avenge his sister’s death by destroying the porn empire that he blames for her death.

It’s a heady mix of stylised, anime inspired animation and live action sequences that piece together the history of Princess and follow August on his quest for vengeance. It’s ultraviolent but it has a lot of heart and is held together by a strong sense of morality. Interestingly it chooses to show both sides of the porn industry – yes, there is sordid exploitation and overwhelming seediness, but Princess is celebrated by her fans, adored and worshipped even after her death. The real victim of course is little Mia who isn’t really capable of understanding what has happened to her mother.

The animation is superb (the opening credits sequence is one of the finest I have ever seen) adding a European sensibility to the dynamism of anime. The dark subject matter and the blood and fire with which August exacts his revenge leaves you feeling that director Anders Morgenthaler is some kind of anti-Miyazaki. Mia could be any one of the little girls from his Studio Ghibli children’s films but transposed into a far more amoral and sordid world than anything Miyazaki designed. It’s an unexpected treasure of adult animation that deserves to be better known than it is.

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