Quebec actor/writer/director Micheline Lanctôt’s 2003 Le piège d’Issoudun (The Issoudun Exit/Trap; English title The Juniper Tree) addresses the inchoate desperation of an early twenty-first-century privileged woman. In exploring her character Esther’s nameless and ultimately unidentified problems, Lanctôt juxtaposes a play based on the Grimm version of tale type atu 720, “The Juniper Tree,” with a neorealist story evoking the same narrative, set in suburban Montreal, Canada. Lanctôt’s rendition of the narrative addresses the complexities of a culturally tabooed subject—child murder by mothers, maternal filicide—without offering pat psychological or sociological explanations: I argue that the neorealist story, illuminated by the fairy-tale play, benefits from an understanding of feminist analysis of maternal filicide. Given Lanctôt’s other reflections on mothering, especially her 2006 documentary Le mythe de la bonne mère (The myth of the good mother), she contends that Issoudun offers a serious intervention on the social issues it addresses: I focus on explaining the film’s realist elements via the fairy-tale play, noting their intersections.
"'Le piège d’Issoudun': Motherhood in Crisis,"
Narrative Culture: Vol. 1
, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/narrative/vol1/iss1/4