BLANCANIEVES: A REVIEW

Blancanieves is a Spanish movie written and directed by Pablo Berger. First things readers you need to know is that there is no need to read any subtitles. The entire movie is silent except, for the impressive original musical score of Alfonso de Vilallonga, and shot in stunning black and white, where Kiko de la Rica, the cinematographer is allowed free range to play with contrasts to his heart’s content.

This is only Pablo Berger’s second feature and is a retelling of the Snow White fairytale set in Seville of the 1920’s. The opening scenes hark back to the time of the great silent movies and the style of the old European directors. But don’t immediately compare this to The Artist as besides the silence and the black and white the two are very distinct. This has a uniquely Spanish feel.

 

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Snow White in this tale is called Carmencita (Sofia Oria), who is the daughter of a legendary bullfighter, and flamenco dancer. After a horrific bullfighting accident her father is left in hospital and unable to hold back her grief Carmencita’s mother dies whilst giving birth to her, as much from the delivery, as from a broken heart. In the hospital we are introduced to Encarna (played brilliantly by the breathtaking and deliciously evil Maribel Verdu who many viewers may have seen in Pan’s Labyrinth and Y Tu Mamá También), Carmencita’s father (Genaro Bilbao) is easily manipulated into falling in love with Encarna, who after a whirlwind romance (done off screen) promptly marries him.

Carmencita’s life changes forever and she is forced by her new mother to live in the coal cellar. Encarna begins to spend her now crippled husband’s fortune by living large and indulging in very S&M vices. Carmencita’s life is tough, she is forced to play the role of an indentured servant in her own father’s house, under the watchful eye of the very cruel Encarna.

 

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As Carmen’s character grows older her part is taken up by Macarena García, and this is where the film begins to look more like Snow White. There are some beautiful deviations, which I won’t spoil, but those familiar with the fairytale will know what will transpire. But as this is a modern “remake”, Snow White instead of meeting seven dwarf miners, meets seven dwarf bullfighters who allow her to join their travelling troupe. Another brilliant twist is the magic mirror in the story is instead a high society gossip magazine which Encarna reads, a fantastic touch. I won’t spoil too much more of the story but Carmen / Snow White becomes a bull fighter and after Encarna sees her fair face in the magazine plots her revenge.

 

Snow White, Maribel Verdu, Angela Molina, Macarena Garcia, Sofia Oria, Pablo Berger, Cohen Media Group, Andrew Brusentsev, the brothers grimm, silent film, black and white film, fantasy, blancanieves, blancanieves review, blancanieves movie
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The star of this particular movie is the cast, but I have to say my outstanding item from this movie was the cinematography and costume design (Paco Delgado), some of the costuming is simply superb. Encarna’s all black outfit framed with her pale complexion is truly breathtaking .

I must admit I was a bit lost towards the beginning of the movie but only because I was trying to guess how the fairytale would kick into the story. But once it did I have to say it was an incredible ride. If you are a fan of the artistry of cinema this is a must. It releases on September 12 in Australia on art house limited release, runs for exactly 100mins and is rated M.

 

4 Pops