Malá Mořská Víla // The Little Mermaid (Czechoslovakia, 1976)
In the wake of tvN’s Surplus Princess, which is, actually, a fusion of the elements of the original and the 1984 movie Splash starring Tom Hanks, I suddenly remembered another adaptation, and probably the best and most accurate one, of the old tale story of the Little Mermaid based on Christian Andersen’s unforgettable, heartwreching story about the little sea nymph who dared to fall in love with a human. A story about a love that lasts until the end, a love that overcomes death; about the courage to fight for the chance to be with someone we love despite the hopelessness of it all and being selfless in our selfishness. Little Mermaid loses her voice and her feet bleed because each step hurts like she is being pierced by hundreds knives and needles - a price she has pay to be with the man she loves; a man who can’t see that the woman he’s been looking for is right by his side. The only difference is that this Little Mermaid (perfectly portrayed by the ethereal Miroslava Šafránková) doesn’t have a fin. She is the princess of the sea kingdom and the beloved, youngest daughter of its king who despises humans while she is interested in everything about the human world.
Being it probably the most faithful adapation of the original, there is incorporated the aspect of the relative immortality of the sea nymphs, who live for 300 years and then they are doomed to turn into sea foam/bubbles because, unlike humans, they don’t possess the immortal soul. However, even in her tragedy there is a hope/a reward for the poor Little Mermaid who couldn’t win the love of her beloved mortal and so selflessly sacrificed her own life to save the lives of the very two people who caused her death - if she spends 100 years saving humans and doing good deeds she will gain immortal soul. There is this amazing scene at the end when she saves the ship with the prince and his new bride from crushing on the cliffs right after she turns into sea foam, her last selfless act of love. The interesting thing about this adaptation is that the Princess is portrayed by the actual sister of the female protagonist so there is an actual similarity between LM and the Princess so the Prince’s confusion and mistake is more realistic and logical. The entire movie feels almost like a set of fantasy-like iconic imagery with its beautiful cinemography, stellar storytelling, deft directing and great actors.
Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VCE2PRS-C8