Blancanieves 

Snow White in the bullring.

mg_movies2_3529.jpg

The Artist set the bar for modern-day rethinking of silent movies, and Pablo Berger's Blancanieves energetically leaps over that bar into a new dimension, combining the broad outlines of the Snow White story with a meticulous evocation of early-20th-century Spain and its music. The result is a completely enchanting fairy tale about the vicissitudes of fate, in live action and glorious black and white.

As in all unforgettable bedtime stories, scenes of tenderness and comedy alternate with those of cruelty and deceit in the chronicle of Blancanieves, born Carmencita (played as a child by Sofía Oria), daughter of a famous but unfortunate bullfighter (Daniel Giménez Cacho). On the very day of the little girl's birth in Sevilla, her mother (Inma Cuesta) dies on the operating table and her father is gored in the bull ring, effectively dooming Carmencita to be raised by her wicked stepmother. The decadent Encarna (toothy Maribel Verdú from Pan's Labyrinth, in a wonderfully over-the-top performance) treats the disabled father with contempt only surpassed by the humiliation of the unwanted child. Thus raised as a servant in her own home, the strong-willed grownup Carmen (Macarena García) sets out to right her wrongs as Spain's first female torero.

Bilbao native filmmaker Berger obviously admires the great silent directors — the credits thank F.W. Murnau, Jacques Feyder, Carl Dreyer, and Victor Sjöström, among others. That said, he fearlessly endows his fairy tale with much of the same pathos and over-acting of the period, particularly in Carmen's interaction with the little people's circus troupe, Los Enanitos Toreros, in which she finds a home. Twenty-first-century American audiences are not accustomed to such naked sentimentality, but Berger makes it work. Cinematographer Kiko de la Rica's visuals are lush, and the music by composer Alfonso de Vilallonga, with sparkling flamenco tunes by guitarist Juan "Chicuelo" Gómez and singer Sílvia Pérez Cruz, adds to the mournful fantasy of Carmen's tale of woe. The film's ending is something Tod Browning could be proud of.

Correction: The original version of this review misspelled the last name of composer Alfonso de Vilallonga.

Blancanieves
Rated PG-13 · 104 minutes · 2013
Official Site: www.cohenmedia.net/blancanieves
Director: Pablo Berger
Producer: Pablo Berger, Ibón Cormenzana, Jérôme Vidal, Jeremy Burdek, Nadia Khamlichi, Adrian Politowski and Gilles Waterkeyn
Cast: Maribel Verdú, Daniel Cacho, Ángela Molina, Pere Ponce, Macarena García, Sofia Oria, Josep Maria Pou, Inma Cuesta, Ramón Barea and Emilio Gavira

Trailer

Now Playing

Blancanieves is not showing in any theaters in the area.

What others are saying

  • Film Details

    Comments

    Subscribe to this thread:

    Add a comment

    Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

    Latest in Movie Review

    • Black Cinema

      Fifteen Black-themed films you should've already seen.
      • Jun 10, 2020
    • A Star is Bored

      Coming soon to a screen near you: your own Covid-19-themed horror feature
      • May 27, 2020
    • Crossing the Streams

      From the new releases everyone's talking about to the cult classics they should be, here are five things to stream and skip this week.
      • Apr 22, 2020
    • More »

    Author Archives

    Most Popular Stories

    Special Reports

    The Beer Issue 2020

    The Decade in Review

    The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

    Best of the East Bay

    2020

    © 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
    Powered by Foundation