Although Cinderella Moon is a fairytale, the message at its heart is that magical things can actually happen in the world. Director Richard Bowen knows this from first-hand experience. As a result, he chose magic realism — a genre of storytelling in which fantastical events happen amid realistic settings — as the style he would adopt for the film.
For Richard, the day that his adopted daughter was placed in his arms was the day that he began to feel that magic was indeed possible. As he held her, he was overcome by two contradictory thoughts.
On the one hand, the odds were nearly zero that his path as a cameraman from Hollywood and his daughter’s path, as an abandoned Chinese infant, would ever cross. They might as well have been living on different planets. And yet at the same time, Richard knew with certainty that this child was born to be his daughter and that their coming together had been inevitable.
What force is at work, he asked himself, that can explain a turn of fate in our lives that’s both impossible and inevitable? Countless philosophies and religions have given that force many names, but they all share one idea: that none of us can fully account for who we become or the many factors that determine the shape of our lives.
“Cinderella Moon’s fairytale world is based on an ancient Chinese worldview where magic was a natural part of everyday life, “ says the director. “The story I wanted to tell needed magic that was realistic in its presentation, because we can only see magic’s actual role in the world when characters interact with it as natural, rather than supernatural.”
That feeling in magic realism that the impossible event can also be inevitable is at the core of Cinderella Moon and its exploration of the mysteries of fate. Perhaps one reason the Cinderella story has so been beloved throughout the world is that it gives us hope that for each one of us there is the life we were born to live, and that in our search to be who we were meant to be, there’s a possibility that magic will touch the reality of our lives as well.