The be-careful-what-you-wish-for principal is amply illustrated by “In the Shoes of the Dragon,” about aspiring filmmaker Hronn Sveinsdottir’s entry in the Miss Iceland contest. Initially viewing her participation as a semi-prankish way to expose the presumed vacuity of such beauty pageants, Sveinsdottir instead turns into a serious, even bratty competitor. Resulting self-scrutiny is not pretty. Rough-hewn docu could use some trimming, but has potential as an offshore broadcast pickup.
At outset, protag is a tomboyish 22-year-old who’s never worn high heels, smokes two packs a day, drinks “like a fish,” disdains exercise and echoes mom’s statement that such contests are “like a cattle show.” Nonetheless, it doesn’t take much fussing about before she looks like a viable beauty queen. She survives preliminaries and begins the training (fitness, deportment) as well as the media aspects of the contest — a big deal here since, despite its tiny populace, Iceland has thrice won the Miss World title. But external pressure, personal ambivalence and a surprising new aggressive streak soon turn Hronn into a temperamental, sometimes self-sabotaging mini-diva. Seriocomic tale holds attention, though its second half could be tightened.